I love reading English fiction and there are some books I’ve re-read many times because they’ve helped me to grasp very important concepts.
One of my favorite fictional characters, for instance – Skilgannon the Damned – is at his best when it comes to fighting when he slips into a special state of mind called the Illusion of Elsewhere. Basically his mind wanders and he allows his body to relax. Surprisingly, this state of mind doesn’t make him less of a fighter; it’s actually quite the contrary – by clearing his mind he actually heightens his senses and allows his body to do the fighting automatically.
So the key is to allow a process that’s been practiced for years to happen without much of conscious consideration thus eliminating any emotional restraints that might hinder your performance.
Over the years I’ve come to realize the very same applies when you engage in English conversations – which essentially is quite an automatic process that you’ve been practicing for years. The only difference is that your mouth and lips have to do the verbal fighting instead of your arms and legs beating the living daylights out of some villain!
Step 1 – Visualize Your Mind Being Emptied
It’s not as difficult as you may think at first – all you have to do to is adopt a comfortable posture for a few moments and slow down your breathing a little. You may also want to close your eyes while you perform this part of the whole process because it definitely helps with calming down and also with the subsequent visualization.
It’s really not that hard – and you don’t even need to lie down or adopt a seated posture. Skilgannon the Damned could slip into the Illusion of Elsewhere while walking and preparing for a combat, so would you not be capable of the same while preparing for a conversation with someone?
Basically you have to take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and visualize your mind being stuffed with hundreds of different English words, phrases and sentences. Then, force yourself to imagine all that jumble pouring out of your mind and crystal clear oxygen filling your head instead. So after those 10 – 20 seconds of visualization you should have a picture in your mind’s eye of your head being completely empty.
And once again – it may sound quite an advanced meditation technique if you’ve never done any type of visualization or meditation in your life. It becomes quite an easy task, however, if you do it a couple times so please don’t let your insecurities hold you back.
Just do it!
Step 2 – Let Go of All Psychological Inhibitions
You just cleared your mind visually, but now I want you to get rid of all emotions that you might be experiencing at this particular moment. It’s quite important because our behavior and also interpersonal communication is governed largely by our emotions and to achieve a state of complete English fluency you need to remain as emotionally unaffected as possible.
Of course I’m not going to lie to you telling that this step is very easy. If it were very easy to switch off certain emotions there wouldn’t be any depressed or unhappy people around! The secret of success, however, is persistence and perseverance. The more you try to forget about your own insecurities, the better you get at it, and eventually you will achieve a state of mind when you just forget about those emotions for a while.
If you’re excited about something that happened or is about to happen – tell yourself it’s not important RIGHT NOW.
If you’re angry with someone or yourself for whatever reason – tell yourself you ACCEPT IT and let it go.
If you’re afraid of the conversation you’re expecting, tell yourself you’ll forget about it soon after anyway – so there’s no need to worry about it NOW.
If you often feel looked down on by those English speakers who are more well-spoken and eloquent, tell yourself you just DON’T CARE about others’ behavior and their opinion.
In other words, whatever emotions you might be experiencing at this moment, try to quell them and not to think about them. There’s just crystal clear oxygen filling your mind and you’re totally uninhibited.
Step 3 – Stop Paying Attention to Your Own Speech
You’re ready to speak now, my friend! All that knowledge, all those English words, phrases, sentences, grammar forms and tenses are going to come out of your mouth and be heard by your conversation partner.
Now, the trick is to retain the relaxed and calm state of mind and speak without ANY conscious consideration as to HOW you’re going to say whatever it is that you’re about to say.
The reason is quite simple – your subconscious mind stores your active English vocabulary and spoken English patterns the same way your muscles would be conditioned to perform certain moves while fighting. Of course, it’s your mouth that has to do all the talking – not your mind, therefore it’s quite understandable that you won’t be able to deliver the same English content that you’d write on a piece of paper, for instance, because when writing you can take extra time for planning the best way of saying a certain thing.
But Skilgannon the Damned didn’t have time to prepare for an attack either, my friend, so I’d say you’re in a better position anyway because you don’t risk being hacked to pieces!
Basically you have to allow your mouth do the talking and stay emotionally unaffected by whatever might be happening while you have that conversation. You might be making mistakes, the person you’re speaking with might be making stupid comments, but you still have to stay in your own world. It’s not always 100% possible, but you have to aim for it.
Whenever you feel you’re failing, tell yourself – “I’m letting this go, it’s not important to me at all!”
On top of that, you have to make sure not to pay attention to how you speak because the moment you start analyzing your own speech you run the risk of overloading your brain and you may start making an awful lot more mistakes and even get tongue-tied.
So try to speak not too fast to get mixed up, and try to get fully involved into the actual conversation by focusing entirely on the matter at hand.
Step 4 – Stop Making Effort to Recall Certain Words and Phrases
Over the years you definitely must have noticed that when you want to recall something badly, you just can’t remember it no matter how hard you try! You must have had moments when you just can’t remember a name of an actor or a music band, and the same goes with speaking English. You may be trying to recall a certain English word, but it has slipped your mind and you just can’t jog your memory!
If you keep trying to make your speech perfect and use the best fitting words by all means, you risk knocking yourself out of the balanced mental state you’ve achieved going through steps 1 – 3. You may start getting too frustrated to retain the emotional harmony and then you may get very conscious of your own speech and that’s the last thing you want!
If you want to retain the clearness of your mind and ability to deliver instant, automatic English speech, you just need to allow your mouth to use words that cross your mind as you speak; just say whatever comes to your mind first! Probably the most important thing you should bear in mind is that you should never be embarrassed to use simple language. The more sophisticated vocabulary you’re using, the more conscious consideration you have to give to what you’re saying and subsequently you risk becoming very conscious of your own speech again.
Remember, the whole point of this particular exercise is to experience a state of mind where your head is emptied of all intrusive thoughts and you enjoy a conversation with an English speaker with a complete focus on the topic of the conversation.
You have to allow your mouth to speak on its own the same way Skilgannon the Damned allowed his body reflexes to take over his conscious mind when fighting because that’s when it reaches its top performance!
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This particular technique of developing your ability to speak English naturally and freely can be effectively used as part of your English fluency management. You may not be able to achieve the perfect Illusion of Elsewhere during a conversation when you try it for the first time, and you may even find it difficult after a good number of attempts.
Still, you have to remember that even when you just do your best and achieve SOME improvement in terms of managing your English fluency, it’s still much better than doing nothing and keeping struggling when you have to engage in English conversations
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!