You try to speak English but it doesn’t sound as confident as others sound to you. What you want is to be more self-assured, to avoid the blushing and awkward silence when someone asks you a question. You’ve signed up for some courses in speaking English, but the confidence is still not there outside the classroom. And you still do not understand why your speech doesn’t sound as fluent and impressive as others.
We do not feel confident because we don’t know what others are thinking about our speech; we are afraid we sound primitive. Actually, the older we become the more we care what others are thinking about us.
I remember my time studying linguistics at university, where I felt miserable every time I was asked to speak. What was surprising was that my grammar was very good and every day I would learn new words and use them effectively in writing. Our professor persuaded us that memorising texts would help us develop our speech. No way. At least for me. Just imagine, I studied for all these years and still was not confident when speaking. Then something hit me.
In spite of my good knowledge of grammar and advanced vocabulary, I had blocked myself by believing in stereotypes of a perfect speaker. The problem was in my head. So, here is what I did. I decided to observe good speakers and understand what it means to deliver a profound and confident speech. Now I will share those tips with you.
Watch Speeches By Famous Speakers
It can be very helpful to listen to speeches from outstanding speakers, copy their gestures and mimics and repeat the phrases when talking. Retelling the speech to yourself is the first step. Pick out good phrases and sentences and make yourself comfortable using them. Stand in front of the mirror and imagine that you are giving the same speech. This will help overcome psychological barriers as you know that this is a clever and well-structured speech. The person who is standing in front of the mirror looks smart and organized, more confident and more relaxed. Now look more carefully, it is YOU.
Read Quotes and Paraphrase Them in Different Ways
Another fear we have is of saying something stupid. We care what people think about us. What can help? Reading quotes from famous people. Quotes embody the wisdom and observation of those who contribute to human knowledge. Sometimes, we really seek words and phrases to describe our observations or ideas, and our speech sometimes becomes either too wordy or too vague; we start stammering and cannot communicate the message. We try again and come up with a confusing and unclear explanation of our ideas.
Why quotes? Quotes are usually laconic and precise. They make speech more sophisticated and direct. Practice paraphrasing the quotes and you will see progress in communicating your ideas. You will intuitively begin to choose better structures and vocabulary.
Choose Abstract Topics and Research Them
There are numerous websites with interesting articles and research. Pick up one topic for a week – it is helpful to target a reasonable amount of information. Read an article per day on the topic. Write about the topic in your notebook after you have read the article, adding some phrases and sentences you find advanced or would like to be able to use in your speech. By the end of the week, try to speak aloud the topic to yourself, with the phrases and sentences in front of you. You may revisit the topic before you start the next week and try to record your speech.
Self-education can help us become a better version of ourselves and these tips really helped me advance my English speech. Go ahead and give them a try. Let me know in the comments if they helped you.
Check out this article for more tips on speaking English.