“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”
—Arthur Somers Roche
Anxiety controls our brain & hinders its performance. Here, it is in terms of speaking English. Although sometimes even native speakers speak wrong English, we bear a great urge to be perfect at speaking English & until we are, the constant fear of being judged on our English keeps us away from speaking it with ease & confidence.
However, we shouldn’t forget that to speak any language fluently, one has to start talking even if it’s broken, with time & good practice; eventually, the flair in the language comes.
By practicing the following ways, one can easily overcome the fear of speaking English :
Remember……..“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.”
To enhance your speaking skills, it’s equally important to work upon your English reading, writing & listening skills at the same time.
It is said that while we write or listen to a language, our mind gets more time to absorb it, resulting in its better understanding. So, if we work upon our other English skills, eventually it will improve our overall English & with time the speaking skills will develop itself.
The fact that English is not our first language will help us accept that mistakes will be inevitable & we needn’t despair. However, committing errors is the most critical part of the learning process! So don’t let your mistakes discourage you. Rather, they should pave the way for you to become a better speaker in the future. So, next time when you go wrong in speaking, you know what to improve, learn from it & move ahead…...thus, minus the mistake!
Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me & I forget. Teach me & I remember. Involve me & I learn. ” Same thing can be applied to our English speaking skills too! Just involve English in our daily lives! The traditional methods, where way too much focus is on grammar only, can help us know English, however, it would hardly give us any experience of English speaking. So, it’s essential to understand that involving English in our daily lives will allow us to use it practically in our real-life situations. By watching English T.V. shows, listening to English music & conversing a lot with others, you can conquer the fear of speaking English in front of others.
You can start with small group conversations or even with one or two partners whom you know; this would be easy, to begin with, instead of going for big group conversations.
A slow-paced conversation will help you get involved in the discussion easily & reduce your anxiety while speaking. Keep a steady pace throughout the conversation. This will make you sound more confident & communicative. Seeing you, your conversation partner will also slow down the pace of their speech. This would even help you in understanding the conversation in a better manner.
While you’re still at your nascent stage of learning spoken English, this trick can help you escape all attention when you talk. By asking meaningful questions, you’ll be an active participant in the conversation & at the same time you don’t have to speak a lot & you’ll practice your speaking as well.
With all this, the most important thing is to smile, to laugh at your mistakes. It is said that we can change how we’re feeling by acting in a certain way. A smile can make you feel better & can help you combat your anxiety to speak English.
Just believe in yourself! Even if it takes time, as it would! Gradually there will be a time when you’ll be able to overcome your fear of speaking English & you’ll emerge as a confident speaker!
Written by: KALPANA CHATTERJEE