Check out the following videos (at the very least listen to 20 – 30 secs of how these foreign English speakers speak):
What do you think all these people have in common except for being foreign English speakers?
First of all, their English ISN’T PERFECT ❗ If you’re one of those perfectionists out there who’s constantly watching out for mistakes made by other foreign English speakers, you’ll notice small flaws and imperfections in Dr. Coldwell’s and Wagner’s spoken English.
Secondly, they’re 100% CONFIDENT ❗
Lastly, they’re really PASSIONATE about what they’re doing ❗ and they’re totally focused on the matter at hand when speaking about it.
What does this all mean for you as a foreign English speaker?
If you’re really dedicated to something, you can become very successful without focusing on perfecting your spoken English!
You may spend your whole life trying to achieve a near-native level of English – but then it’s going to be too late to realize your dreams in terms of your professional and social life.
Or you can SET YOUR GOALS NOW, start taking action and improve your English as you go along according to the specific needs and requirements of the particular industry or a different aspect of your life.
Remember – your English has to be just good enough for you to be successful 😉
Your English is Means to an End, not the End Itself!
The above sentence simply means –
You have to treat English as a vehicle which helps you achieve goals in life!
Basically you don’t have to perceive English fluency as the end goal for your English improving related activities.
It’s actually quite a big problem for many foreigners which I can clearly see in e-mails I’m receiving on a daily basis asking for advice on English improvement.
My fellow foreigners are so desperate to improve their English and achieve English fluency that it’s become their Holy Grail.
What they don’t realize, however, is that such an approach is way too general, it creates unrealistic expectations and it’s easy to lose motivation while you’re trying to become a fluent English speaker 😉
Fair enough, you want to achieve English fluency. But what are you going to do in order to do that?
Learn 10000 words? Become proficient in terms of English grammar? Learn to speak about any topic in English?
Your intentions are great, and you’re clearly driven by a need to become a better English speaker, but what’s lacking here is – SPECIFIC GOALS ❗
Do you really need to learn 10000 new vocabulary words to land a job as a sales-assistant, for example?
Why would you want to waste years of your life trying to become a grammar nerd if what you actually want is to pass an exam to apply for an Australian visa?
So maybe now you’ve started seeing why it’s more important to become GOAL-ORIENTATED in terms of our life goals rather than just focus on improving our English.
Set Your Life Goals and Improve Your English as You Go Along!
You may have heard about setting specific goals before, but have you ever drawn parallels between goal setting and English fluency improvement?
If you’re trying to get fit and lose weight, for example, every industry professional will tell you to be specific about your goals. Getting fit and losing weight is just the general description of what you want to achieve; for your plan to be ACTIONABLE you need real targets you can work towards.
“I want to lose 10 kg by the end of December and run a 10K race under an hour” is a very actionable plan, and it’s so much easier to achieve it because you know EXACTLY what you want!
Same goes with your English.
“I want to become a fluent English speaker” is something we all foreigners want, but it’s not good enough.
It’s not a SPECIFIC goal. It’s not ACTIONABLE. It’s going to put an immense mental burden upon you and set you up for a failure.
“I want to become a fluent English speaker so that I can land a job in sales and marketing” sounds much better but it’s still too vague. What exactly it is that you’ll have to do to land a job in your desired industry? Become an English grammar expert? Work on your pronunciation in order to reduce your accent? Remember – you’ve got to be more specific!
“I want to be able to maintain a fluent conversation about my marketing degree, past experience as a merchandiser in my home country and also marketing in general so that I can start doing job interviews in two months” is a very actionable and specific plan.
With this goal in mind, you can make a list of specific steps:
- find 10 popular marketing blogs and follow them regularly;
- keep notes of specific industry phrases and memorize them by heart;
- create a list of 30 topics about you and marketing;
- dedicate 30 mins every day to self-practice speaking about those topics;
- create a CV and a list of possible job interview questions and answers;
- do a daily 10 min role play of a job interview beginning at 2 weeks prior to starting actively seeking for your new job.
When you have such a list, all your English improving efforts are focused upon your goals, and you will do only what’s necessary in order to achieve them ❗
You Can Spend Your Entire Life Trying to Achieve Fluency… Or You Can Start Living Your Dream NOW!
Fluency means different things for different people.
For an accomplished native English speaking poet fluency means to be able to create the most sophisticated and embellished poetry.
For a PC store sales assistant fluency means to explain PC, laptop and other device functionality to the customers using professional language.
For a broadband helpdesk operator fluency means to be able to help customers with their queries and issues in a timely and efficient manner.
Whatever it is that you aspire to do, your fluency definition will be different which means you’ll be wasting your time if you try to become a fluent English speaker without a specific end goal in mind.
Let’s say for instance, you’ve moved to an English speaking country just recently and you feel that certain aspects of your English are lagging behind.
If you just go with the general plan of improving your English, you may spend the next 10 years improving your English fluency if you’re not being specific. You’ll focus on general vocabulary building, grammar improvement and so on, but you just have to set specific goals because they’ll accelerate your improvement like nothing else can!
If I look back in time, I have to admit that my first 4 years in Ireland were a waste of time because I was stuck in a warehouse with other foreigners. Yes, I worked on my English and dreamt of better days but I never took any real action.
Then one fine day I just walked out of that place and started looking for a job which would fit my profile and soon enough I found myself surrounded by other English speakers in an international call centre. The next few months saw my English improve more that the previous years because I was improving my English TO SUIT MY NEW LIFESTYLE.
Basically it works like this – set yourself a goal, and dedicate all your efforts TO ACHIEVE THAT GOAL. Your English fluency will naturally improve as you do so, and it’s going to happen 10 times faster than if you just spent your evenings sitting at a text book.
Do you think Dr. Coldwell and Wagner from the videos above wasted their time learning specifics of English grammar?
I can tell you this – they were dedicated to their goals of becoming successful performers, doctors, fitness advisors and whatnot. Their English improvement happened naturally, and they would never have achieved the level of success they have if they spent years of their lives trying to better their English and only THEN worked towards more specific goals!
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!