Being confident is essential if you want to be successful in English. You need confidence for fluency, to try new things in English, and you need it to take part in important events.
But there are lots of things that can stop you from being confident. I believe that you can teach yourself ways to build your confidence so that you keep progressing. But first of all…
Why we don’t always feel confident
You can lose your confidence when something goes wrong. Perhaps a phone call was more difficult than you expected, or you “froze” in a presentation.
But you can also start with little confidence. Perhaps someone told you in the past that you weren’t good at English. Or perhaps you feel worried that if you get too good at English, other people will find it challenging. You don’t want to appear too smart, or too different from the people you know, because they might have a problem with your excellent English!
In both situations, when you start to lose your confidence, you’re less likely to take risks with English and to try new things.
Think about English as personal or career development: something that’s important to you because it will help you achieve other goals in your life.
Here are three ways you can do this.
1. Give yourself realistic goals
Some goals can be too big. For example, if you say “I’m going to be fluent in English in three weeks” this can feel frightening. Instead, think of the little things that you can do which will move you closer to your bigger goal. For fluency this could be:
– prepare one question / point for a meeting so you know you have something to add
– make a short phone call in English (prepare the phrases and vocabulary you need)
– explain to someone what you do in your job (so you feel prepared when someone asks you)
Each time you meet one goal successfully, think about the next goal. For extra confidence, write down (or record) when you reach your goals in an “achievement diary”. This will show you how far you’ve progressed in your English.
2. Look for opportunities
Confidence happens when you keep doing things in English and eventually, they become quicker or easier for you to do.
Try to find as many opportunities as you can to get regular practice in speaking, or listening, or writing.
Get involved in groups, or projects where the working language is English. If there isn’t one already created, start your own! Start something in your town or city, or contact a bigger group and ask them to help you set up a smaller branch in your location.
Here’s some inspiration for you. One of my students started a little charity for marine conservation on her island. The working language is English, and she’s getting lots of speaking practice as well as helping the environment!
3. Change negative feelings
Sometimes we stop ourselves from being confident. Maybe you hear a ‘voice in your head’ saying negative things like “You’ll never get good at English” or “English is too hard for you, so don’t bother” or even “You should be fluent by now”. These thoughts are common – maybe you’ve experienced them in other parts of your life.
But they’re only thoughts – they aren’t true. You can change them by finishing the sentence with a different thought:
“English is hard, which is why I’m practising it before my meeting.”
“I’m not fluent yet, but I’m taking every opportunity to speak so I get there quicker.”
“My aim isn’t perfection, but to speak clearly. That’s my definition of ‘good at English’.”
Let me help you to get confident in English!
Regular speaking is the best way to improve your confidence so that you get fluent. That’s why you have regular group lessons when you join the English Fluency Club. But that’s not all! You also get two complete fluency programs that prepare you for speaking, with 650+ everyday English phrases.
Click the button below to get fluent in English!