Language Learning: What Motivates Us?
Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!
Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!
You Should ACT Rather Than REACT During English Conversations!
I’m pretty sure that you can remember having a conversation with another English speaker during which you felt quite insecure and didn’t quite know what to say when responding to the other person’s questions – or maybe the other person didn’t even ask you anything and did all the talking themselves! Here’s what would typically happen during such conversations. “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” (this is the other person initiating the conversation) “Ah, well, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking, and how are you?” “I’m all right, I’ve got the Monday blues all right, but what can you do when you have to bring another paycheck home at the end of the week, isn’t that right? Anyway, I went to see the football game on Saturday – the Falcons where taking on the Giants and you’d never guess who won the game! The Falcons had to beat the Giants to end their losing streak so they were giving it all they had, but then suddenly…” – and your conversation partner just goes on and on and on… … and you’re just left wondering when YOU are going to get a chance to say something! Personally I wouldn’t even call this type of one-way communication a conversation – it’s just one person’s MONOLOGUE and you’re a passive listener, nothing more. I warmly suggest you take matters into your own hands and make the conversation sound something like this: “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” “Hi John, not too bad actually!” “That’s good, yeah… Listen, I went to see this football game on Saturday…” “Hey John, sorry, but I’m not really into football! Ice-hockey is what I prefer, and my team is having a really good run this season! The Rangers, on the other hand, are performing really badly unfortunately – my son roots for them and while I’m happy Boston Bruins are at the top of the league, I don’t like being too enthusiastic about it because it makes him unhappy!” Now, did you see what happened here? YOU became the one who delivers the speech, and John had to listen to what YOU are saying instead of making you listen to what he wants to say! Obviously I’m not trying to say that you should interrupt everyone who starts telling you something, I hope you realize this was an exaggerated example to make you understand one thing: If you only REACT during English conversations and allow other people to adopt the leading role, you’ll never get a chance to speak and develop your fluency! Be more daring :!: Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say – even if the other person mightn’t be really interested in it! (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
What You Think is Your WORST English Performance May Just Turn Out to Be Your BEST One Ever!
Do you sometimes get the feeling that you’re a really crappy English speaker and that your English sucks? Well, I also get this feeling sometimes, and despite having dealt with my main fluency issues a long time ago there are days when it kind of feels as if it’s not even worth opening my mouth. There are occasions when I have to record a video for my YouTube channel, for example, but I just can’t stand the way I sound on that particular day, and I can’t get rid of the feeling that I should rather stay away from it and get back to it the following day. Do you think I do that and just keep my mouth shut? No way! I simply ignore the fact that I’m feeling bad about my ability to speak in English properly, and I proceed with recording the videos. More often than not the result is quite surprising – when I watch the video I can clearly see that my English speech is by far better than I thought it was! So here’s the simple conclusion I can draw: (more…)
Why When We Stress Out Our Fluency Deteriorates?
Story About Not Being Able to Speak in English in the Morning and Speaking 100% FLUENTLY in the Afternoon!
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… (more…)
My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences
How Using Hand Gestures & Facial Expressions Helps You Speak Better English!
Focus on Your Achievements & Ignore Perfectionists if They Make You Feel Worse!
If you focus on grammar aspects of your language when you speak, you may experience the following problems: * feeling overwhelmed; * constantly analyzing you own speech; * lacking self-esteem :mad: All this in turn may result in terrible English fluency issues whereby you feel like all your achievements in terms of your ability to speak in English are for nothing! You may feel like you’re back to square one, you may feel as if you’re never going to be a decent English speaker – and it definitely doesn’t help if someone is constantly trying to point out your mistakes in the process! The reason why I recorded this video is because I was contacted by one of my blog readers and he asks me if it’s OK to do spoken English self-practice instead of speaking with people online who are focused way too much on the grammar aspect of the English language. Basically he says he reads a lot, and then he summarizes each chapter by speaking out loud and developing his fluency that way. He feels much better and more confident while engaged into that exercise than speaking with smart-arses who are hell-bent on getting his grammar right without being aware of what they’re doing to his confidence and fluency. (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!
3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners
Some time ago I published an article called “5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners”. In today’s article I’m going to look at reasons why on certain occasions it might be actually easier to speak in English with another foreigner :!: As I already pointed out in the first article – on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective. All other things being equal – such as your level of English fluency, language comprehension etc. – you may feel more comfortable speaking with another foreigner simply because you’re not ashamed of saying something wrong (which inevitably happens during any conversation). Or it also could be that you spend most of your time working in an international team, and speaking with native English speakers is an exception rather than a rule. "It is mostly our OWN mental inhibitions that make us favor conversations with natives or foreigners!" And of course – it varies from person to person a great deal! While you mightn't have any problems chatting with your native English speaking work colleague, your supervisor might be giving you the creeps and you always stutter and find it difficult to explain yourself in his or her presence. Anyway, here are the 3 situations when you may find it easier to speak with your fellow foreign English speaker instead of a native speaker. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)
5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners
My Experience in a Polish Beauty Salon & What Foreign English Speakers Can Learn From It!
OK, it’s about time I came clean about my activities involving skin rejuvenation procedures and wrinkle treatment. Yes, I’m getting older, there’s a lot of grey hair emerging on my head, so I want to do everything within my power to fight the effects of time and look young forever… Just kidding! :grin: It’s not really me who used services of the beauty salon – it was my daughter and I just brought her there. I used it as an attention grabber and I just wanted to entice you to start reading this article, which is probably just as bad as lying, sorry for that! ;-) Keep reading this article though, because I’m about to tell you why my visit to the Polish beauty salon was more than just sitting in the hall and waiting on my daughter to finish her facial procedure. I got talking to the salon owner – a Polish woman – and what struck me was the fact that her English pronunciation was nearly perfect. Seriously, I couldn’t remember meeting any other foreigner here in Ireland having such a near-native level of English accent. Or should I say – lack of thereof – because at times she sounded exactly like the local English speakers! (for your reference – English spoken in Ireland is a bit different in terms of pronunciation and grammar than its American, British and Australian counterparts.) Me and my wife were chatting with her for a while, and I started noticing another thing – her English would probably upset some radical English language perfectionists because she was making a few grammar mistakes, especially when it came to using the Past Perfect Tense and grammar constructs like Conditional 2 Simple. Not that I would ever judge her; if there’s someone who’s adamant that foreign English speakers focus on what they CAN say instead of what they can’t - it’s me! I was simply amazed at how confident she was and how fluently she spoke despite allowing a slight imperfection to creep into her speech every now and then. And you know what? It didn’t hinder the communication between me, my wife and the salon owner a bit; we could speak with her with the same ease as we’d speak with native English speakers. (more…)
It’s OK to Feel Like an Idiot – Sometimes Even Native English Speakers Get Tongue-tied!
How to Sell Your English Skills and Put On a Show Every Time You Speak
Do You Really Suck At Speaking English?
I’ve received countless e-mails saying basically the same thing – “Robby, I’m a useless English speaker, when I try to speak with other English speakers – especially native ones – I get very nervous. I’m struggling to say the right words and I hesitate a lot when speaking…” Well… Maybe you’re right… to a point. You’re useless as far as you believe you are, and the more you convince yourself of it, the deeper the conviction gets ingrained into your mind. It’s the so called self-fulfilling prophecy when something happens just because you believe it will happen :!: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you should turn a blind eye to the problem and just ignore it. While ignorance may be bliss on some occasions – such as ignoring strangers’ opinion of your level of English simply because they can’t possibly know how well you speak just because you’ve made a mistake when speaking with them – you still have to deal with your emotional and mental issues preventing you from fully enjoying English conversations. So what I’m saying is – even though the issue is there, you have to change the way you view it. You have to analyze the nature of the issue, make conclusions and see if you really are as useless as you think. Subsequently, you should come to realize that the issue isn’t as bad as you believe it is, and that conclusion in turn should make you into a more confident English speaker. Essentially it’s the same self-fulfilling prophecy – only now you have to get it to work to your favor! Now, are you ready to turn your assumption that you suck at speaking English on its head? (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
You’ve Gotta Be Ignorant to Be a Fluent English Speaker!
If I had to name one thing responsible for my spoken English confidence, it would be IGNORANCE. Are you surprised? Don’t be, because I don’t mean it in a bad way. I’m not ignoring other people when they speak to me; I rather force myself to ignore any negative emotions emerging during a conversation with someone in English! Let’s say for the argument’s sake, I’m having a conversation with my bank’s local branch manager regarding a loan that I’d like to take out. We’re shaking hands; I’m sitting down and starting explaining the purpose of my visit. Then all of a sudden, I make a small mistake by calling the loan a “credit” – which is fairly understandable given the fact that loans are called “credits” in my native language which is Latvian. Well, I’ve maintained countless times on my videos that you have to completely eliminate any translation process between your native language and English, and personally I have achieved it. Still, under slightly stressful circumstances your mind may start playing tricks on you, and I have to confess that I’m not perfect either; no-one is for that matter! So I’m saying – “I’d like to apply for a loan.” Then the manager asks me – “Have you considered the amount you’d like to borrow?” to which I reply “I recently paid off the previous credit, and I’d like to have another one of the same amount.” But even as I speak the words “previous credit”, I realize I mixed up those two words – “a credit” and “a loan”, so I immediately correct myself by saying “sorry, I mean – the previous loan.” It’s definitely OK to correct yourself during a conversation and it’s much better than allowing mistakes to slip by and risking being misunderstood. But what making such and similar mistakes can do to you is – they can make you feel very embarrassed, and I bet you know what I’m talking about, right? Embarrassment is the enemy number one of any foreign English speaker, and it’s a typical example of a negative emotion being evoked in your mind. Embarrassed, ashamed, angry, stressed out – all these are examples of negative emotions that will destroy your spoken English confidence if you allow them to take over your rational mind :mad: This is where ignorance comes into action. (more…)
Why is It Difficult to Speak with Certain People in English?
Importance of Letting It Go!
Today I’ll tell you about a phrase I heard the other day on the radio and which got me thinking about how foreign English speakers are sometimes perceived among the native English speaking public. So I was listening to my favourite morning radio show and as usual listeners were sending in text messages and the DJ was reading them out. Among the other messages there was one that wouldn’t make a 100% sense to a native English speaker yet it was obvious what the listener had meant by it. I don’t really remember what exactly it was, to be honest with you. I just know that it was an awkward word combination not used in real life. It is, of course, quite natural for any native speaker to spot such an odd word combination. And indeed, any of us foreign English speakers having spent long enough time among other English speakers would also notice something that doesn’t sound right. Little that the radio DJ knew about how foreigners speak, he jumped to a conclusion that the person who had texted in that particular message hadn’t got a good command of English. You think it’s not a big deal? It is, and let me tell you why. (more…)
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1
Check out my English Harmony System 2.0 HERE! Australia or Canada? India or Singapore? Or maybe you’re in Philippines or the Unites States? Wherever you are – welcome to the 18th English Harmony Video episode!Â Today I’ll show you a simple yet very powerful method of managing situations when you have to tell about something in English but you just can’t say anything for some reason! Does it sound familiar to you? If so – read on or watch the video above and you’ll also be able to manage such situations with ease! (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!
India – the Home of Fluent English?
Hi Everyone, Today I came across a website about English fluency called Fluentzy.com. It’s pretty cool in the fact that they’re basically talking about all the same issues with speaking fluent English that I do! You have to speak English and have pre-planned the speech in your head. But when it comes to speaking with a person for real, you just can’t say a word... And the actual reasons behind this issue is the following – learning the English language through your mother’s tongue. You know – it’s the traditional way of learning a language. You write the English words down in your copybook and translate them into your native language. Then you memorize the meaning of those words and you’re perfectly fine with using them in your writing, speaking in the class and so on. However, there’s one very important problem that will surface only later on. Namely – the English language you learn, is far from fluent! You can’t speak spontaneously – and this is the factor that separates a fluent English from one that is handy ONLY when it comes to writing a letter, or reading a book. The credit for inventing the system at the fluentzy website goes to Indians, by the way. As it’s said on the website, I quote: "England may be the home of English, but India is the home of fluent English. India is where English fluency building was systematized for the first time in the world as a distinct teachable subject. An Indian loved the English language so much that he studied its fluency-secrets in great depth and designed the world's first dedicated course in English fluency building (as distinct from EFL/ESL courses and translation-dependent bilingual courses). And that was KevNair, better known as the father of fluency development" - The New Indian Express Well, thank you KevNair for your contribution into the English fluency! ;-)
Simple Action Plan To Boost Your English Fluency
Do You Get Stuck In English When Hearing Yourself?
Hi Folks, This time I'd like to tell you a strange thing from my own experience - and I must stress - it's really weird! It's about getting confused while speaking English with someone - and you know why? Because I suddenly start hearing myself - my speech. And I instantly get knocked out of the normal speech rhythm and have to gather myself up. Why is it happening? Why would hearing your own voice make you feel embarrassed to an extent when you start speaking with a really bad accent and get stuck? I don't know the exact answer - but many of you have sent me e-mails telling the very same thing... (more…)