As well as learning English language skills, it takes some confidence to become fluent in English. Don’t worry, it’s natural to feel nervous when you’re learning a new language.
There are plenty of simple things that you can do to ‘come out of your shell’ – that means to grow in confidence and become more outgoing in your approach to learning English. Try some of these practical tips.
Read out loud
Get used to pronouncing and speaking English out loud, as often as you can. This helps in a range of ways:
- It boosts your confidence.
- It’s great practice for your pronunciation and listening skills.
- Your brain and mouth get used to working together. Exercising your mouth is like exercising a muscle, and the more practice it has at pronouncing English words and sounds the better it will become at doing this naturally and fluently.
You can use a variety of source materials to help you speak out loud, and have fun doing it too:
- Read from books, or any written material on or offline.
- Read poetry out loud and listen to the beauty of the language.
- Copy words you hear on the English news, in movies or TV shows. Pause the video and repeat back what you hear. It’ll give you an instant comparison to the way native English-speakers pronounce their words.
- Sing along to your favourite songs in English.
We’re all naturally scared of making mistakes, or of being laughed at. But the truth is that everyone makes mistakes when they speak, even native English speakers. They also can’t agree on how to pronounce everything – check out this BBC news video to see what we mean.
So there’s much less pressure than you think to speak English ‘perfectly’, as there’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ English. It means you can relax and loosen up about making mistakes. English speakers will be happy to help you whenever you’re struggling. In conversations you can have a lot of fun by ‘turning the tables’ and having them pronounce difficult words in your language for a change!
Join a conversation class
Joining a conversation class with English language learners who are at the same stage of learning as you can be incredibly helpful. Because you know that everyone is in the same boat as you, they’ll all be just as nervous as you are, and be struggling with similar problems. English Live has a variety of online conversation classes where you can meet up and practice English every day without ever feeling scared.
Maybe you feel you need to practice English on your own and get the basics right before you’re confident enough to progress to a group or conversation class? That’s totally fine – everyone learns in their own way, and not everyone is equally as naturally confident or outgoing. Check out English Live’s fantastic range of English guides to build up your basic English skills until you’re ready to progress to group situations and having conversations in English. You’ll find eBooks on:
- English phrases
- English grammar
- English for professionals
- English idioms
- English interviews
- English vocabulary
Talk to family and friends
If you have any friends or family that speak English, ask them to help you. Talking with them regularly, whether it’s face-to-face, on the telephone, or over the internet, will help to boost your confidence. Getting used to speaking with someone you know and trust first will make it easy to progress to speaking to strangers in English.
Similar article: Five reasons why it’s better to learn English with Friends