I can speak fluently if the other person is not a good speaker of
English. What should I do to improve my grammar and remove my shyness?
Speaking English with someone who is fluent, or even when they aren’t, can be very intimidating to
many people. Feeling shy when trying to communicate in English stems from a lack of confidence as a
speaker. You feel that the world is going to judge you if you don’t say something correctly. But the good
news is, that simply isn’t so.
The beautiful thing about English is that it’s a universal language and is spoken by people from all over
the world. Of course, not all of them are linguists and scholars that have complete command of the
language. People speak it with various accents, different dialects, intonations, etc. Heck, even people
from different parts of the same country often have trouble understanding each other. So keep in mind,
that people are used to hearing all types and variations of English.
There are many tips out there that will help you feel less shy:
1. Speak slowly – There is no need to make it look like you are as fluent in English as you are in
your mother tongue. Speaking slowly will help you organize your thoughts and feel calmer. In
fact, extremely slow speaking is a technique cherished by many English instructors, when they
are helping students improve their speech.
2. Ask questions – Asking questions is not only a great way to feel engaged in a conversation, but is
also an excellent way to feel in control of the dialog. In other words, you are passing the ball to
your conversation partner.
3. KISS – The “keep it simple, stupid” method applies to speaking too. When speaking English,
many people try to construct complex sentences as they would in their native language. There
really is no need for that. English loves simplicity. Stick to simple structures. They will make you
feel more comfortable.
4. Act confident – Many studies are now showing that by acting confident, people essentially
become more confident. This also known as “fake it until you make it” principle is a great tip to
help you look in charge, which, in turn, will make you feel in charge.
5. Use filler words – There is nothing wrong with using “ums,” “ers,” and “ahs” when you speak.
This is not a sign of weakness – native speakers do so all the time.
6. Practice! – This is the most important tip of all. The most effective way of becoming a better
speaker is by practicing speaking. There are many ways of accomplishing this. You can find a
speaking partner you feel comfortable with, so that you won’t feel shy or judged. There are also
mobile apps and online conversation classes, if such a speaker isn’t available to you in person.
English Ninjas is one of the best ways of finding a qualified tutor/conversation partner that will
help you practice your speaking and overcome your shyness.
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