How to Overcome Nervousness When Speaking English

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The first time you speak in the language you are learning is enough to make you nervous, so the question is how can you remain calm and overcome nervousness? English language learners would eventually be asked to speak English, either in class or in front of someone as their language lesson progresses.

If even some seasoned public speakers admit to feeling nervous before they go on stage, imagine what an English language learner would feel. They may have spent hours or days practicing, but it is a different matter when they are about to speak. How could one overcome their nervousness when speaking English for the first time?

How To Overcome Nervousness  When Speaking English

1. Breathe Properly

Breathing properly is important and this means deep breathing. When you do this, you can keep calm and lower your anxiety. Breathing deeply reduces secretion of hormones that create stress. You must be aware that you are feeling nervous. Before it is time for you to speak, take a minimum of three deep breaths.

2. Don’t Aim for  Perfection

Remember that you are still a student, so you do not need to be perfect. Keep in mind that feeling nervous is a normal reaction to what’s about to happen and that even seasoned speakers feel the same way. If you feel that you should be perfect, you only increase your anxiety. What should be your objective is to show what you have learned. It is also one of the ways to know if you are doing good and where you can improve. You can only get better after you have made mistakes.

3. Be Mindful of Your Body Language

Your body language has a bearing on how you feel. There are two types of body language: open and close. An open body language helps you become confident. You’ll feel nervous and submissive if you have a closed body language. Remember to have eye contact with the audience and stand up straight. Do not slip your hands into your pockets or cross your arms across your body.

4. Remember the Reason Why You’re Learning English

Remembering why you are learning the English language will help you feel more confident and relaxed. You do not remember your objective only during the time that you are asked to speak. You should remember it every day so you’ll be motivated to keep going.

5. Be Prepared

Knowing what you are going to say beforehand will help to build up the courage to speak. Ask your teacher for suggestions. It is easier to prepare when you know what topics to work on. If it is something that you know well, then it makes your preparation easier.

6. Develop your Listening and Reading Skills

Preparation for speaking English should not be a few hours or days before. It should be a continuous process. Be concerned with how others would reply to you, more so than thinking about what to say. You should be reading more to understand more and learning to listen more. These two practices will help you build your vocabulary.

7. Work on Your Accent

You accent, particularly if it is a strong one, could hamper understanding. If you have a strong accent, it is suggested that you work on reducing it by improving your pronunciation. Learn the proper placement of stresses in English words. Do not speak too fast like most native speakers of English. Learn the proper phasing, which helps reduce your accent and at the same time giving your listeners the chance to get used to your accent so they can understand what you’re saying.

8. Stay Calm

When you’re nervous, you may forget what you want to say or in some cases, you end up stuttering, mumbling or speaking too fast. Keep your nervousness at bay by relaxing. When you’re calm (deep breathing helps), you’ll be able to think clearly.

9. Keep Practicing

It’s often said that practice makes perfect. While you are not required to be perfect at the initial stage, it is important to keep on practicing. One of the best ways is to practice aloud every chance you get. You have to use your mouth, in order for you to get used to pronouncing the words and training your ears to hearing those English words. Do this by yourself in front of the mirror or practice with a friend.

Because you are not used to speaking in English, it will take your brain some time to process, translate and formulate response to the incoming words. Make it easier for you by using simple words and basic sentences instead of trying to impress your audience with words that you do not yet understand and constructing complex sentences.

Posted by Oxford Language Club

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