How to speak confidently in English

Want to speak more confidently when you’re learning English? There are lots of simple tricks that you can use to talk with more confidence – even if you don’t feel truly confident on the inside.

Don’t worry, everybody makes mistakes when they’re talking in English – even native English speakers:

It’s common to feel nervous about talking in English while you’re learning the language, but don’t be scared. No one’s going to laugh at you – in fact, they’ll be happy to help. It’s important to realise that the best way to learn to speak fluently in English is to get plenty of daily practice – and this means you can’t be afraid; you have to accept the fact that you’re going to make mistakes and open your mouth and talk anyway!

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Be positive

Confidence is an attitude. You need to adopt an ‘I can’ mindset and try not to focus on the negatives.

  • When you’re listening to English conversations concentrate on the words you can understand, rather than focusing on and worrying about the words you don’t understand yet.
  • Instead of taking criticism to heart, turn it into a positive. When someone points out your mistakes, don’t take it personally – it’s a chance for you to improve your English. Ask them to explain where you’re going wrong, and offer you some advice as to how to improve.
  • Say yes. Don’t turn down opportunities to practice your English – even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s meeting someone’s English-speaking family or friends, talking to someone in English online, or joining your friends on a holiday to an English-speaking country, accept the challenge, say yes, and you won’t regret it.

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Practice, practice, practice

The more you speak out loud the more confident you’ll become. Get into the habit of speaking in and listening to English every day and it will soon become second nature. There are lots of ways that you can fit daily English speaking into your everyday life:

  • Talking to English-speaking friends and family face-to-face, over the phone, or online – talking with someone supportive can give you the confidence you need to later reach out and start conversations with people you don’t know
  • Using Skype to talk to an online study buddy – even if it’s just a little every day, getting used to speaking in English will boost your confidence and help your English fluency too
  • Join conversation classes – English Live’s online conversation classes allow you to speak with English language learners who are at the same level as you. You’ll learn from listening to and talking to each other in a supportive online environment – and the more you speak up in class the more you’ll see your progress grow and the more confident you’ll become
  • Travel – travelling is a lot of fun, and it forces us to speak English too. Being completely immersed in English, and surrounded by native English speakers, you’ll learn fast. You’ll get used to a range of accents and dialects, and meet new people along the way

Read out loud

As babies we learn our native language by listening to and mimicking the language we hear around us from our parents and family. Only later do we learn to read and write the language. When we learn a new language at school or as adults we often learn by reading and writing first, and by listening and speaking second.

The reason many people learning English can read and listen is because that’s all they practice. But in order to speak English confidently, you need to practice speaking. Don’t stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don’t just listen. Whether you’re reading, writing or listening, speak the material out loud and practice what you hear.

By practicing speaking out loud your mouth and brain will become used to working together and making the shapes and facial expressions needed to pronounce things correctly. Soon they’ll work together without you having to think about it, and your English conversation will become more fluent.

Relax

When you speak English, take it slowly, don’t rush it. Talking too fast can stress you out and make you seem nervous. Breathe, relax, and give yourself time. This will reduce the pressure you feel, and help you to speak more clearly and with confidence.

Article related: 6 unusual ways to improve your confidence speaking English 

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