Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!

There are plenty of social situations when you’d be speaking with a group of other English speakers as opposed to just one person. Just think about the following situations: Having a lunch break in your work or college café with your colleagues; Having a cigarette with your work colleagues or schoolmates; Sharing a car ride with your friends. So, what do all these situations have in common? Anyone? That’s right! What they have in common is SOCIALIZING IN A GROUP, and it’s very important for you to understand that group conversations tend to be much different from one-to-one conversations :!: When there are two people having a conversation, you have more control over the whole process, whereas in a group your voice will oftentimes be quite literally drowned out by others. Does that mean you should avoid group conversations and wait till you get a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with some other English speaker to practice your English? Not at all! As a matter of fact, if you avoid such situations, chances are – you won’t get any opportunities to get to know other English speakers and as a result you’ll end up being alone. The best way to go about it is by knowing WHEN and WHAT to say during a group conversation in order to minimize your chances of being ignored and maximizing your potential for English fluency improvement, so keep reading this article to learn from my experience having lived in an English speaking country for 13 years :!: (more…)

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

You may have this idealistic image in your head as to what kind of English you should be speaking – grammatically super-correct, formal, rich and eloquent English spoken by high-class native English speakers – but achieving and maintaining such high spoken English standards may not be just unrealistic. It may also be very unhealthy to your confidence as an English speaker to constantly compare your existing level of English against your desired level of English in terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and speed at which you speak because it will serve as a constant reminder of your shortcomings as an English speaker! You may believe that most people speak sub-standard English and it’s unacceptable for an intelligent person. You may have this perception that your English just HAS to sound like that spoken by native English speakers – and if it doesn’t, you’ll be always branded as an underachiever. And you may also strongly believe that text-book English taught to English students in schools and universities is the ONLY way forward and that the conversational English is just English for the masses and not for such a well-educated individual as you. Guess what? By upholding such unrealistically high standards you’re making it really hard for yourself to actually improve your English! (more…)

3 Easy Steps of Dealing With Fear of Public Speaking for Non-native English Speakers

Are you afraid of speaking in public – be it a company meeting, parents meeting at school or a college presentation where you’re required to speak in front of the entire class? Truth be told – most people are afraid of speaking in public, but to make matters worse, we’re in a situation of being non-native English speakers thus making us even MORE vulnerable to possible hick-ups during the speech! I mean – where the native English speaker has to deal with anxiety and stage fever, we also have to deal with our English fluency issues which are most likely to get exacerbated while we’re freaking out on the stage or in front of expectant listeners, so I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that dealing with public speaking anxiety is even more difficult for foreigners like me and you! It shouldn’t deter you from dealing with the issue though, and if you have an important meeting or a presentation coming up soon, please read the rest of this article where I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how to deal with your fear of public speaking by: Accepting and embracing you fear; Preparing for the event by a way of speech automation; Lessening your anxiety through worst case scenario analysis! So what are you waiting for? Read this article and deal with your public speaking anxiety in 3 easy steps :!: (more…)

What You Think is Your WORST English Performance May Just Turn Out to Be Your BEST One Ever!

Why When We Stress Out Our Fluency Deteriorates?

Here’s a typical question I get asked by my blog readers and customers all the time: “When I speak with other English speakers, I always get embarrassed, and then I start stressing out, and then I just can’t speak anymore. Why is it happening?” Why? Well, the answer is in the very question you’re asking! You’re STRESSED OUT, and that’s why you can’t speak fluently anymore! That’s it, my friend – stress is the single biggest reason affecting your fluency (and that of hundreds of thousands of other foreign English speakers worldwide!). It’s the STRESS that makes you do all the following: Hesitate, Make stupid mistakes, Get stuck for words, Lose the thread of your thoughts… ... while at the same time you’re being fully aware of the fact that if you’re not in stressful situations, your spoken English level is fairly good. Why is it that stress affects our English fluency big time? Well, read this article and you’ll found out just that – and much more! :grin: (more…)

Story About Not Being Able to Speak in English in the Morning and Speaking 100% FLUENTLY in the Afternoon!

My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences

A couple of days ago I had to make a phone call to my local airline company’s Ryanair support line to sort out a few queries over my family’s summer flight to our home country. I got through to the call center within a matter of seconds for the simple reason that it was one of those premium rate phone numbers. I doubt that would be the case had it been a normal phone line or a toll-free phone number; most likely I would have to spend at least five minutes on the line! Anyway, my customer support agent was a Russian girl so the first thought that crossed my mind was – “Cool! It’s going to be quite easy to speak with her because she’s also a foreign English speaker – just like me!” You see, the thing is that on some occasions it’s easier to speak with another fellow foreign English speaker than a native English speaker, so I thought this chat was going to be a walk in the park. A short time later, I realized it wasn’t the case with this particular conversation. I was having a hard time understanding if the person on the other end of the phone line actually understood me, so I constantly had to second-guess her replies which made the conversation not-so easy, to say the least! (more…)

Others Don’t Judge Your English as Much as You Do!

In this video episode I’m looking at how differently you perceive your own bad English fluency days from others – your conversation partners and just about anybody coming in contact with you! You see – the thing is that we’re experiencing constant feedback between our mouth and our brain and that’s why we’re so acutely aware of our speech imperfections. A passive observer, on the other hand, might skip most or even all of your grammar mistakes or any other shortcomings of your spoken English performance. You can rest assured that people have their own problems to worry about, so most of your mistakes might actually pass unnoticed. So if you’re often freaking out over your spoken English performance, please watch the video above and you may just realize that you can find great comfort in the fact that most of your confidence related issues are obvious only to yourself! ;-) Chat soon, Robby

Do You Get Intimidated by Eloquent English Speakers? You Shouldn’t!

One evening while on my way home from work I was listening to an evening chat show where some Irish-American was analyzing the aftermath of the last American presidential election and its effect on the Republican Party. And here’s the funny thing: Even though I understood EVERY SINGLE WORD he was saying, I couldn’t really figure out what exactly he’s trying to say! Every sentence he uttered was very vague; it was as if he was saying EVERYTHING AND NOTHING at the same time… After his interview, I realized that he was basically trying to convey the following: the Republican Party are still slow to embrace the fast-changing ethnic composition of the American population, and in his view it was one of the decisive factors as to why Mitt Romney lost the presidential election to Barack Obama. It took him 5 minutes or more to explain something so simple, and I can’t think of a more fitting English idiom to describe what he was doing than the following: he was beating around the bush! :grin: He was using super-sophisticated industry lingo. He was rephrasing a single concept many times over and he was repeating the same things all over and over again. I was starting to feel lost while trying to make sense of the tangled mess that his speech was! :mad: Some time ago such an experience would have made me feel very bad as a foreign English speaker because I would have started doubting my own English skills: “My English isn’t good enough because I can’t make out what he’s saying…” “He speaks so fluently and he’s using all these means of expression so professionally… I’ll never be able to speak like him!” Such and similar thoughts would be crossing my mind, but now I know better than start beating myself over not being able to replicate such a seemingly eloquent speech. In fact, now I wouldn’t even want to be able to speak like that, because not only would I be confusing people who are listening to me but also myself! I’d rather say a lot with fewer words than use a never-ending cascade of verbal content which is going to overwhelm my conversation partner or listener and make them acutely aware of their inability to match up to my train of thoughts. How about you? Are you often feeling inferior to some very eloquent English speaker? Are you admiring their ability to use sophisticated language? Is it making your English skills pale in comparison? Then keep reading this article and you may just change your mind! ;-) (more…)

3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners

5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners

A big part of my blog is dedicated to dealing with difficulties arising when a foreign English speaker speaks with a native English speaker. Fear of making mistakes. Trying to sound too perfect. Comparing your speech with the native speaker and running into certain speech problems as a result. They’re just a few of the number of problems that we, foreigners, may face while in pursuit of English fluency! No wonder that sometimes we feel more comfortable speaking with our fellow foreigners because we feel like we’re on a level playing field. We’re less likely to be judged, so we don’t become self-conscious when speaking in English, right? We can also use simple language without worrying that our speech will sound too simplistic and that we’ll get a patronizing treatment - am I also not right in saying this? Well, it’s not always the case! Sometimes a conversation with another foreign English speaker may turn out to be just as difficult – if not even more cumbersome. All of a sudden, all those problems you were running into when speaking with natives seem like nothing compared to how awkward it is to speak with another foreigner… In reality, on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective and most of those problems are only happening in your head. Still, I want to give you 5 reasons why speaking with a native speaker may be easier. So, let’s begin with the reason number one which is… (more…)

My Experience in a Polish Beauty Salon & What Foreign English Speakers Can Learn From It!

It’s OK to Feel Like an Idiot – Sometimes Even Native English Speakers Get Tongue-tied!

I thought I’d become immune to embarrassment because I’ve been following my own advice on using decent doses of ignorance whenever I encountered embarrassing situations. Last weekend, however, I realized that I’m not as emotionally tough as I thought because I got to experience immense embarrassment while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping in the local supermarket… To cut a long story short, I ran into one of my work colleagues – he’s a nice Irish fella – and somehow we both got completely tongue-tied when facing each other. To make the matters worse, he had his wife with him and obviously the whole situation became extremely awkward because I’d never spoken to her. Also considering the fact that I’ve rarely said anything more to him than “Hello!” and “See ya!” at work, I don’t think you’ll find it hard to imagine how two adult men may not find ANYTHING to say to each other. Well, to tell you the truth, the resulting situation was so embarrassing that I literally lost control over it and it started to resemble an accident scene unfolding before my eyes. Do you know the feeling when you’re witnessing something terrible happen but your body freezes up and you’re unable to do anything? I was experiencing something similar at that moment because I felt I was losing grip on reality. Clearly the totally confused red-faced person who just stood staring at the other two people with no ability to say something sensible in English wasn’t me; it was someone else having taken over my body! And the Irish fella wasn’t in a much better position – he was as tongue-tied as me unable to come up with anything reasonable to say to me. As you can imagine, the morale of this story is that it doesn’t matter who you are – a foreign or a native English speaker. Either one of you can get tongue-tied BECAUSE OF EMBARRASSMENT and the language actually plays a little role in it! (more…)

Information Overload: How To Stop Thinking TOO MUCH When Speaking English!

I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling when you think so much ABOUT HOW TO SAY something in English, that eventually you can’t say anything at all! Different English Tenses, verb forms and synonyms are swarming in your head and the information overload shuts your operational memory down, so to speak. You mightn’t have given it a conscious thought, but all these problems originate in the fact that you prepare your speech before actually speaking out loud instead of speaking instantaneously. Besides, the more you think about HOW to respond to a question or say something in English, the more choices you have to make and the bigger the information overload becomes. Consequently it may become nearly impossible for you to make a decision on what English Grammar Tense is to be used, what words would describe the situation best, and so on; also fear of making mistakes prevents you from saying AT LEAST SOMETHING just to get the speech going. When you write, you can make well calculated decisions and decide what means of expression is the most appropriate for the given situation. When you have all but a split second to make that decision during an actual live conversation, your brain just cannot act that fast. When being forced to deliver an instant speech and make multiple choices at the same time, you may find it overwhelming, and you may develop a monkey-mind syndrome when you feel as if you’re paralyzed and completely unable to deliver a normal speech. Somewhere during your quest for perfection quality of what you’re saying in English has taken over performance - the speech itself - and your perfectionist nature requires you to analyze almost everything you’re saying. How to stop doing it? Why it’s happening? Find out answers to these and more questions by reading the rest of this blog post! (more…)

The Single Biggest Culprit Causing Foreigners’ Speech Anxiety

I’ve published loads of articles in the past dealing with English speakers’ confidence issues, but I’m resolute to drive it home this time. I was browsing the Web last night and started reading different language learning articles and related comments, and after reading a particularly heated clash of opinions I suddenly realized WHY so many foreign English speakers and indeed – learners and improvers of ANY LANGUAGE - are intimidated and may potentially develop a phobia of speaking their target language. Not that I didn’t know it prior to that, it’s just that for some reason it became so clear to me last night... So here you go – it’s the academically minded foreign language speakers (and sometimes also native speakers) who feel superior to ANYONE who can’t speak at their level that make others feel that they’re useless as foreign language speakers :!: :mad: (more…)

You’ve Gotta Be Ignorant to Be a Fluent English Speaker!

Why is It Difficult to Speak with Certain People in English?

Your English isn’t the same at all times. It changes. At times you may notice you can speak very fluently, with ease. Yet sometimes you may start struggling with speaking in English with someone for no apparent reason! You have to bear in mind that ups and downs are natural in any human related performance, and spoken English is no different. Unless, of course, you’re experiencing frequent occasions when your mind goes blank and you’re unable to speak in English at all – then we can start speaking about the typical English fluency issue which haunts so many foreign English speakers. Anyway, fluctuating English fluency is normal, and there are many factors playing an important role in your English fluency – your stress levels at the time of speaking, your overall mental performance, familiarity with the topic you’re discussing and also frequency of your spoken English practice. The more often you speak English, the better you should be able to perform – it’s actually common sense, isn’t it? Yet one of the most influential factors holding sway over your spoken English performance is PEOPLE you speak with :!: Haven’t you noticed that it’s very easy to communicate in English with certain people while others make you nervous and your start mispronouncing even the simplest words? I bet you can remember situations when you’ve discussed quite complicated matters in English and it didn’t present any difficulties to you at all; yet on other occasions you’ve felt uncomfortable speaking about simple, everyday topics! As I said – much of it depends on who you speak with, so let’s delve deeper into the issue so that I can finish off this article with a few pieces of useful advice on how to manage your English conversations regardless of who is your chat partner! (more…)

Importance of Letting It Go!

Accept Your English Fluency Limitations!

Read the following carefully – you have to be aware of your limitations in terms of English fluency yet you have to constantly improve your spoken English. Are we looking at an apparent contradiction here? Not at all! Let’s introduce some algebra to help us understand this concept. Look at this hyperbolic graph. It’s one of the best ways to help us grasp the concept of confined infinity. Essentially it’s the same way as saying that you can constantly keep improving your spoken English but at the same time you can expect there to be a cap, a limit to that growth. So what the graph above shows is the following. The hyperbolic graph keeps constantly approaching the axis but it never meets it. This line extends infinitely and in theory if you would be able to keep zooming in, you’d see that it never touches the x axis. But just think about this – the axis in itself is a limitation in space, so it marks a certain level. And it’s right here when we can draw parallels with constantly improving English fluency yet it’s limited by your personal circumstances. (more…)

Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)

My dear website readers, YouTube channel watchers and Twitter followers! You can religiously stick to my advice on how to improve spoken English, but if you miss the most important component – your road to fluent spoken English will be filled with potholes! You can really gather yourself up every time you feel that your confidence in spoken English drops. You can start speaking slowly and pick the words carefully as I’ve told you should do when you feel your mind racing. You can also use really simple words to explain yourself to prevent from getting stuck if you can’t remember the very exact phrase or word you want to say in English. But once again – if you miss the most important part of the equation, you’ll be always struggling with maintaining constantly fluent English! So which way you want to go? Do you want to be able to consciously use all the good advice on improving your spoken English and keep making effort OR you want to reach a point in your life where you don’t have to make an effort at all to speak fluently? If I were you, I’d definitely take the last route and I believe you’d too! (more…)

My Christmas Message To YOU!

Hi Everyone! I’m Robby from English Harmony – and I wanted to tell you a few words before another year comes to its end! First of all – I wish you the Merriest Christmas ever! No matter where on the world you live – I believe Christmas will bring peace and harmony in your life! And secondly – may the New Year make all your dreams come true! I know how important it is to keep clear focus on the things you want to achieve and if you want something really badly – you’ll get it! (more…)

India – the Home of Fluent English?

Simple Action Plan To Boost Your English Fluency

Hi my friend, this time I’m going to give you a plain and simple action plan to instantly improve your English confidence – and I bet you’ll be surprised how EASY and EFFECTIVE it is! So enough ranting – let’s get to the matter straight away! Step one – STOP being ashamed of yourself! Did I just insult you? Sorry, no offence meant. But the cold truth is – everyone who struggles speaking English fluently is actually shy deep inside. Whether you are aware of it or not – you constantly COMPARE yourself with others, or with a particular person. It could be your best friend, or workmate, or a person being your role model – and it constantly nags at you – ‘He’s speaking better than me…’ Well, there’s not a better solution than to stand in the front of a mirror and tell yourself loud – I don’t need anyone as a role model. I’m sufficient with my English and there’s NOTHING that could make me feel low and lose my self-esteem. So the first step is to recognize the very fact that you constantly keep on being shy speaking in front of particular people, in public etc. Step number two – when you speak a natural English speech, just THROW away all the grammar rules from your mind! Am I being too extreme making such a statement? Well – I don’t think so. Bear in mind – I didn’t say ‘forget all English grammar’. What I meant was – don’t put double load on your mind when you speak English. Your sub-consciousness will do the work for you. Everything you’ve learnt so far grammarwise will manifest itself anyway. So if you speak and try to think about the grammar rules at the same time – you just make unnecessary effort. You will inevitably make your speech slower and distorted. Better don’t think anything ‘extra’ – just speak and enjoy being right here and now with the person you’re communicating with. The third step – ACCEPT the things the way they are. Even though it may sound completely opposite to what you desire – there’s a great wisdom in this approach. It doesn’t mean you don’t have to strive to improve your English. But with not accepting yourself as your are, you are creating a never-ending conflict with your inner self. In other words – you’re doing more damage to your English confidence rather than improving it. Anyone has embarrassing moments while speaking – even speaking their own language. A week ago I went for holidays to my native country and had to deal with people speaking my language, of course. And you know what? It’s really weird, but I noticed myself starting stutter and mispronounce the words… I hadn’t spoken to other natives but my family and closest friends for a while, and this sudden change made me speak badly even in my own language! So think about this again and accept yourself. When such moments happen while speaking English – the last thing you want to do is – start worrying. Be yourself – and it will eventually yield more results than constantly fighting with yourself! OK, my friend, I hope these simple things will help you in your way to fluent English! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

Do You Get Stuck In English When Hearing Yourself?

Get Rid of Monkeys in Your Mind!

Speech management and confident English go hand in hand with managing yourself and your thoughts. Do you often have this feeling of a racing mind? Do you feel you have hundreds of different thoughts constantly crossing your mind, repeating all over again and making you anxious and irritated? In Zen Buddhist philosophy such a state of mind is described as a room full of jumping and screaming monkeys running wild! This state of mind is very closely related to all kinds of anxieties, worries, fears – and among them the English speech anxiety. No matter how well you’re trying to speak English, you head is full of English words, phrases, sentences, grammar rules – all at the SAME TIME! You’re trying to say something – but regardless your toughest attempts you get the English grammar wrong, misspell and mispronounce words and notice this at the very moment of speaking them out! To deal with this issue of inability to speak English normally you first have to deal with monkeys in your head. Here I’ve written a few basic steps to calm down your mind and start thinking just ONE THOUGHT at a time instead of trying to encompass EVERYTHING at once. (more…)