First of all, ‘Stop Hesitating’: if you are working with a personality coach or a language trainer, request him to give you some remedy or else speak to me… without any fear.
Throw your ‘fear of failure’ or of ‘being wrong’ out of the window; or else read this article on WikiHow with 7 Steps on Hesitation Removal
What? step # 6: Force yourself to do new things is a bit difficult as you need to decide ‘what new’ you could do. Isn’t learning to speak in a new language something new for you? So, you want help to ‘remove your hesitation’ to speak to new people along with Learning English or do you have stage fear? Do one thing, right as you begin a conversation in English program, take the word ‘Hesitation’ out of your working vocabulary. I know, as language trainers, we are supposed to teach you new words and their usage. Since, you need to build your confidence for speaking in public, I will wear the hat of a personality coach to tell you How we have woven Confidence building as a part of the program itself. Don’t fret, I will compensate it with 10 extra words that you will learn when you work with me on your Language skills 🙂
As a start point for conversations between us: never to use the word ‘Hesitation’- I suggest, we use positive words like courage, confidence, ‘Can Learn…’ and ‘Can Do…’ when you need to talk to me or are in need of some words of encouragement. On my part, I also promise NOT to use any negative sounding words throughout this post and even during my program … I would also quote some ‘words of wisdom’ from Henry Ford a business leader whose name often appears on our institute’s notice-board with his words appearing as ‘Thought of the day’.
I also get encouragement and confidence to Train people on Communication skills from Mr. Rami Camel-Toueg – my TTT trainer from Business Edge (IFC-World Bank group), the motto of his training and consulting firm in Egypt is “Learning is Doing; and Doing is Learning”.
So let me share with you ‘what we suggest to our students as: ‘3 Key Points to follow during the program for Building Confidence to speak. They come from my experience of training hundreds of people (of different ages: seventeen-seventy, from various professions and students) Some of the ‘to dos’ are also part of the approach we follow in conducting the English conversation skills program at T.r.i.c.k.s – You may also use them along with any other Language learning and/or Public speaking workshop. In my view, most people who have ‘the confidence to learn’ don’t need a separate confidence building work-shop.
Point #1: Let’s NOT Speak about the Problem; but FIND the Solution.
Confidence is what you need and you will get it naturally as a bonus when you do practice of using English language in front of the class – as we learn by doing itself. Understand your learning style and follow a pace that suites you.
You will participate in a variety of Role-plays and activities where we create opportunities for you to speak more & more in real-life situations. We make the activity clear to you right as you begin to speak and at the same time making you comfortable doing it. I request for volunteers for my class activities – but those who participate most learn the most.
In the interactive class discussions we will do interesting and ‘easy to do’ things some individual and some in the group.
- Describing a picture
- Ask questions to figure out what is hidden
- Face the Truth
- Lie-detector test
- Find an Object hidden in the Language Lab
- Tell me the way to reach your home
Our trainers are smart enough to modify the activity brief to connect them with the profession or job of the learner where he/she knows it well enough to talk with confidence and ease. The feedback given is constructive. WE Don’t find Fault with you as a person, it’s the language we correct as you speak (with no disrespect to you for the first language influence), we simply repeat the sentence correctly and if explanation is needed we point out the mistakes with your grammar, composition or pronunciation – we may also give a better way to frame a sentence or a more suitable word in the given situation. Our communication or language experts give you a Remedy they don’t find fault. They give you positive statements to practice along with some tips to prepare your mind for the change.
Point #2 : Say “I Can Learn to speak with confidence” and You would end up doing it.This is a simple ‘preparing your mind’ exercise: Say aloud some “I can learn…” and “I can do…” statements as per what you want to do with your English learning on that day. You could do this exercise everyday in the morning ‘in front of the mirror’. Important is to say the statements with complete conviction and with a smile on your face.
It sounds funny but it works as you would find it for yourself. I also suggest that you speak out some ‘Can learn’ and ‘Can do’ statements in front of the class or share them with your learning partner or trainer so that he/she can correct them or suggest the appropriate one based on the learning stage you at and the next hurdle to cross. Be realistic, true to yourself and use numbers to make them measurable (as much as possible). Here are same ‘Can learn’ & ‘Can do’ statement groups, that I have suggested to some of my students depending on their position and what they must to ‘walk further or sometimes it is a prescription so that they don’t stop:
- I Can Learn to make simple sentences in my mind; I Can Speak 5 statement to describe my company.
- I Can Learn to frame open/closed questions today; I Can ask 10 questions in my practice with my learning partner.
- I Can Learn 25 new words in this week; I Can use them to speak with confidence in my ‘coffee with a celebrity’ activity next week
- I Can Learn to use ‘linking words’ for narration; Such that, I Can share the story of ‘how much I enjoyed my holiday in Shimla’
With regularity of practice, it is equally important to keep refining your learning objective and ‘Can do’ statements until you reach your ‘near-term’ goal for learning good English. Your goal for next 2-3 months can be: “I Can Learn to speak with Confidence; I Can make a 5-minute speech without repeating or without any fillers; I Can clear the communication round of the interview”… Yes, you can if you have enthusiasm.
Speaking fluent English is no exception to what Mr. Ford very nicely said “You can do anything if you have enthusiasm”. So, above all keep-up your enthusiasm, the good news is your ability to learn new things does not reduce substantially with increasing age.
Point #3: There is NO age Bar in a language class, keep your motivation high for Learning skills that directly affect your earning.
Retain your confidence to Learn or else your will not earn what you should, with your qualification and experience. People sometimes lose confidence due to age; and 20-something or 30-something is not the age to stop learning but rather its the age to start learning professionally relevant skills that even an MBA won’t cover. Some of the skills that you learn with us are such that they ‘get you a job’ or make you start to earn faster or these skills will step-up your existing earning – Just keep up the motivation to learn.
English is the language of Business, and business leaders speak well in English. Most BIG businesses work in English. Requirement to make Presentations, or talk to your team members or public speaking opportunities come to you only after you have some experience as your profile is enhanced. At most times, your promotion is directly liked to your communication skills or ability to Learn new skills. How can you afford to lose confidence in your area of interest with only a Language or medium to communicate becoming a barrier.
Anyone at any-age can learn to speak-well and can learn English easily – I can say this as I have trained several people up to twice my age and similarly I have also learned many things in life from my teen-aged children.
There is in fact a better realization about the importance of communication skills with the increased role and you need to step-up your motivation. Choose a role-model from your industry who can give you the motivation to be confident like him/her, have faith and be confidence that you will learn given the right environment – of practice-field. Start learning under a confirmed communication expert who understands the kind of performance pressures you face in your industry. Each person has different pace and method of learning and this has nothing to do with age don’t compete with the students in the class…. try to learn something everyday and practice until you gain confidence to speak it up in public. As a trainer what I suggest to my students is keep a tab on your own understanding, learn and continue your practice. Its okay to miss a day if you are travelling but continue to practice and try to speak in English particularly with new contacts/relationships.
Don’t Let poor English conversation skills come in the Way of your Dreams!