I woke up on a Thursday morning.
I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for some reason or another, and I wasn’t feeling as energetic and ready to roll as usually. I poured my morning coffee and started dealing with Fluency Gym Coach Program customers’ queries in my inbox, but I was too exhausted to do any spoken English practice which is how I’d normally start my day.
To cut a long story short, when I’d driven to work, entered the premises and got engaged in my work related activities, I hadn’t uttered a single word in English for the simple reason that I was really tired and I just didn’t want to do any spoken self-practice at all…
Normally I would speak with myself in the car while driving to work in order to get my English speech going, but this particular morning was an exception. And I think it would be fair to say that I hadn’t actually spoken at all – even in my native Latvian – because all I’d said was a couple words to my daughters while dropping them off to school that morning.
Anyway, shortly after starting work my boss walked up to me and asked where my work colleague was (he wasn’t aware he’d taken half a day off).
I opened my mouth to provide the answer (which was not only the first verbal human contact for me that day but also the first English word SPOKEN that day!) and I realized to my dismay that I could barely put my thoughts into the right words…
Spoken English is a Practical Skill – You Need to WARM UP!
You wouldn’t go to a gym and hit your maximum weight right off the bat, would you? Of course you wouldn’t, you would do at least a couple of warm-up sets to prepare your body for the workout.
You wouldn’t reach your optimum running speed when going for a three mile run – you would start off at a light jog and then reach your target speed after a minute or so – isn’t that right?
Well, spoken English is no different, and on many occasions you can’t expect optimal performance levels with no warm-up whatsoever!
That’s exactly what had happened to me on that Thursday morning.
I hadn’t spoken a single English word that day which means I hadn’t warmed up my mouth and gotten ready for the upcoming English conversations during the day, simple as that!
Nonetheless, I had to have a conversation with my boss, and I told him why my work colleague wasn’t in for the first half of the day. I didn’t struggle big time to get that verbal message across, yet at the same time I can’t say I was speaking fluently either.
I hesitated a couple of times during the conversation, and I generally felt that I just couldn’t speak with my normal clarity of thought.
Next Stage – Getting into My Normal English Fluency Zone
Right after I finished the conversation with my boss, I did all the following:
Had a little bit of spoken English practice with myself.
I was commenting on my activity at the time – counting sweaters into boxes – so even if someone were to walk on me and hear me talking, it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
I went straight to the production department manager and discussed our daily priorities.
I enjoy having conversations with this particular manager because he’s my English good luck charm and he’s always easy to speak with.
I went to the office and said hello to the girls!
There are three girls working in the office, so we always have a friendly chat every morning and it also helps to get my English fluency going on days like this when I’m a bit slow to verbalize my thoughts with 100% efficiency.
About an hour into my working day my fluency was back on track and I was ready to roll!
Hitting the Heights of My English Fluency
You’re probably thinking – “Common Robby, there’s no way you can go from a struggling speaker to fluent within a matter of minutes, it’s just not possible!”
Well, guess what – it is, and I’m a living proof to that!
English fluency – just like our physical performance – changes all the time, and it’s totally possible to be struggling one moment and speak really fluently another!
It’s happened to me times and times again, but here’s the key thing:
NEVER FREAK OUT!
If you freak out and start frantically thinking as to why it’s happening to you – you’re done! Your fluency will go out the window and you’ll find yourself in a situation when you can’t speak at all and you’re constantly getting stuck for words!
If you simply ignore it and apply fluency management techniques such as slowing your speech down, pronouncing words clearly and speaking in short, simple sentences, your normal fluency is bound to return back to you.
And that’s exactly what happened to me.
I was trying to speak as much as I possibly could just to get my fluency going while at the same time employing all the different techniques and strategies I’ve been writing about over the years:
- Slowing my speech down
- Speaking too fast in order to utilize reverse psychology
- Focusing on the matter at hand instead of my speech
- … and many more!
By the time my work colleague got back, my fluency was also back to normal and the work process was in full swing which is quite normal for Thursdays anyway.
And I have to tell you guys that being really busy at work has quite a positive effect on my fluency so I can’t really complain about that!
Thanks for tuning in,