Most of people I know including my classmates in high school and college and my colleagues told me they were scared of giving a speech or having a conversation with others. Some said that is because they were shy, and some said because their language skill was not good. Thus, they did not want to get embarrassed. If you are one of them, do not worry.
Skills are learnable as long as you have a strong will. I used to be shy to speak with others when I was younger, but I have improved a lot now. What I would like to stress is if I can improve my speaking, so can you. What I cannot assure you is you will be the best speaker or presenter, but what I am sure if you will be a better version of your past self. In this article, I will share with 3 effective habits that I have personally done to help you to become a more confident speaker and communicator. The bad news is it is hard work. You cannot achieve it overnight! So be patient and appreciate your daily little proress.
- Skills are learnable.
- Appreciate small progress. Everyone has different timing.
- To be better at it is to do it.
- Highly Recommended books to read to ace communication skills
Firstly, I would like to share with you a little bit of my real experience. If you have read other blogs of mine, you will see quite a lot I have shared my personal experiences in those blogs. You might wonder why I have had so many related experiences. Well, believe it or not, they are true experiences of mine. I guarantee that I do not make up the stories. Now let’s get back to my journey of improving my English speaking. When I was younger, I saw my friends in primary school could speak very good English with people and in front of the class. I really admired them, and I used to wonder if I could be like them one day. I used to think my English could not be as good as them. Whenever it came to speaking English with friends, I would be always shy away from the crowd. Now I can say I am better. Well, my English speaking is not great, but it has been better. I can use it for studies and work with local people and foreigners. On top of that, I was able to win a speaking competition organized by a local university joined by many good and well-trained speakers. It could be both hard work and luck :D. But I did work hard for it.
Here are the 3 habits I have done to improve my confidence in speaking:
Habit 1: Write down your ideas: I have truly found writing very helpful for my speaking improvement. Here is why. I am not a native speaker. When I started my English school, I was not taught to think in English. I was already in grade 8 when I started learning English. Therefore, I was fully influenced by my mother tongue. This was why, whenever I wanted to express myself in English, it took me longer than the native speakers or those non-native learners who were exposed to English at an earlier age than I was to articulate my ideas. That was because I had to think in my native language, and then my brain converted it to English. Prior to then, I had to organize my ideas. In short, as a non-native speaker, whenever we speak in another language, we have to go through 3 steps- information processing, thought organization, and expressing the thoughts. Also, because I was influenced by Grammar Translation Method(GTM) a lot when I studied English, I seemed to write better than I speak.
After I found this issue, I started to write my ideas down. Besides my work and studies, I practiced writing about any topic I like I every day. I started from what I liked so that I did not get bored and quit quickly. This is the important part! Writing involves many processes, including brainstorming, idea organizing, drafting, revising, and finalizing. In addition to that, it improved my grammar skill. I did it every day by writing it in a book, phone, computer etc. Doing this repetitively has helped me to speak better by being able to think faster, organize my thoughts more orderly and make less grammatical mistakes in speaking.
I also decided to write blogs since I love writing. If you have not had your WordPress account yet, you do it for free WordPress has video tutorials for WP beginner too. You can share your ideas and improve yourself at the same time. You can create your account and make your own blogs in a few minutes here.
Habit 2: Speak daily: Practice makes perfect. Incorporate English speaking or any language speaking into your daily activities. For example, find someone at school or at work that you can talk to or you can chat with your friends in English. Chatting is seen as a form of writing, but when you chat, you might feel like you are talking to your friends. This is how I feel. Not sure if you do. Frankly speaking, chatting with friends was also a part of my English success because it taught me to think and respond faster. Hadn’t I chatted with friends in English so often back then, I would not be more fluent now. If you really have no one to talk to at all, here is another tip for you. You can practice what you write above and speak in front of the mirror or your phone camera and do not forget to record your speech. Why do we need to do so? When we see ourselves in the mirror, we can learn how to pose better. By recording, we can know how to improve our pronunciations and intonation.
Habit 3: Read out loud daily. There are 2 main types of reading – extensive and intensive. Extensive reading is reading that’s for pleasure and relaxation. Intensive reading is more purposely for example to get an in-depth of something. However, the reading type I am introducing to you now is extensive reading. Just read for fun. Choose something that you are interested in and practice reading out loud, so you do not get bored and give up in the middle of the journey. By reading out loud, it has helped me become more fluent and project my voice better. This has contributed to my pronunciation and accent development.
Those are the 3 main habits I have done to improve my confidence in my speaking. I really hope that you will try and get better like I do too. Let me know if you have different habits which you would like to share. Thank you.
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