As an English as a second language (ESL) student, you often fear speaking in this foreign tongue. Surprising as it sounds, your fear can be baseless! Below are the truths non-native speakers like you must be aware of.
If you can understand your fear of communicating, then you can have a discussion, negotiate, and present in English with ability, influence, and power.
1. Even English-Speakers Fear Speaking English
Go to a bookstore where English books are sold. Go specifically to the shelves where self-help English books are stored. Read their titles. Notice the volumes of books written for developing confidence in speaking.
What do these books titles tell you? It tells you that there are many English-speakers, both native and non-native, who struggle with speaking. Many English speakers feel insecure of talking even if their mother tongue is already English. Volumes of books have been written for them.
Know that you are not unique in your fear of oral communication. Be happy in the thought that you are not an exceptional and helpless case.
2. A Little Amount of Fear is Helpful
Your hands become icy and start to shiver. Your knees feel weak and start to tremble. You feel blood flushing to your cheeks. You have the sudden urge to vomit. Should you be alarmed about your body's reactions to fear? No. Your body is preparing for a big action, in this case for speaking. Understand that your bodily reactions to the thought of speaking are absolutely normal.
Take control of your body. Do not let it control you. If you know how to control your physiological reactions, then you will be able to use them to think clearly, perform well, and speak smoothly.
3. Even Professionals Do Not Lose the Fear of Speaking
Professional speakers are never relaxed before a presentation. They never cease feeling the pressure of speaking. In fact, their feelings of fear continue up to their first few sentences of speech.
What can you learn about this? Professional speakers have the fright of speaking but still deliver fantastic speeches. Fright of speaking should not prevent you from speaking confidently.
4. Establish a Record of Success
Having a record of successful experiences in using English minimizes your fear of speaking. If you do not try to talk often, then you will always be tongue-tied. If you do not exert effort to establish a record of
speaking well, then you will never be an elegant speaker of the language. Speaking is a joy, rather than an agony, if you have a record of success to your credit.
Practice speaking as much as you can. Talk to your own self, friends, colleagues or classmates, or English teachers. Using English on a daily basis and during everyday occasions makes speaking the language a habit. Before an oral presentation, rehearse English in front of your mirror, with a friend or a teacher. Prepare for your presentation in English until you have mastered your topic.
Despite constant and intense rehearsals, you may find yourself failing in your attempts to speak English. You still might experience mental blocks, suffer from insecurities, and commit grammatical mistakes that make you sound and look dumb. Do not worry. You can find useful, helpful, and valuable tips. Rest assured that you will get better at speaking.