Building self confidence to speak confident English
I created the mmmEnglish channel to help you to speak confident English. In fact, in this video, I share my tips and advice to create more self-confidence and for English fluency!
http://bit.ly/TheLadiesProject [THIS] is my online community created to help women learning English build confidence to use English and thrive.
CLICK HERE to read the full lesson transcript.
I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! I’ve been meaning to have a little chat with you about confidence: what it is, how to get more of it because more confidence when you’re learning a language means that you get to use it more and this has an incredible snowballing effect. The more that you use it, the more that you learn and more comfortable you become.
And that allows you to try more things, meet more people, experience different situations in that language.
Confidence in ourselves is really powerful. When we believe in ourselves, we can make things happen. We can create change and as soon as we notice that change, it becomes really empowering. We prove to ourselves that something’s possible and we get inspired by that and we go out again and we try another time and we go further.
There are two types of confidence, the type that everyone else sees and then there’s self-confidence which is how we feel on the inside. And they’re different but they’re very closely connected. I really believe that confidence is a skill that you can learn you know. You can create more confidence in your life.
So today I want to chat about building confidence within ourselves to allow us to become more confident externally, on the outside. Over the past few years, I’ve been on my own journey of building confidence. I’m still on that journey by the way, but I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve learned along the way and you know, the things that I’ve tried, some of the things that have helped me to become a little bolder and a little braver.
It really wasn’t that long ago that I would have laughed in your face if you told me that I would own my own online business and that I’d have a team of people working for me. I just wouldn’t have believed you at all. And if you had of told me that I’d have a Youtube channel and I would produce videos that got sent out to the world every week, I would be rolling on the floor laughing. I just would have said “There is no way.”
And yet we have this ability to surprise ourselves, to prove ourselves wrong and that’s what I want you to tap into. Everything that I’m talking about today is coming from a female perspective, from my perspective. But as women, I think we face a unique set of self-confidence issues about our image, about being assertive and about feeling guilty if we put ourselves first. But finding a way around these feelings, it really is the key to building more confidence in creating opportunities for yourself.
Women and men tend to have a different relationship to confidence. I think women generally have less confidence when they’re younger. Women tend to spend a little more time throughout life building confidence and maybe that equalises things later on. But men tend to develop more confidence earlier in life and maybe as a consequence of that, they don’t work as intensively as women do throughout their lives to get more confidence.
And this idea, it really resonates with me because I was reserved and unsure and full of self-doubt when I was reserved and unsure and full of self-doubt when I was you know, worried about my lack of experience. And I wonder if any of the women watching or anyone watching, you know, resonates with that. Does that sound familiar? Does it sound like a story that’s similar to yours?
So many of my students tell me and they tell themselves that they are shy, that they’re introverted that they are shy, that they’re introverted that may be you right now but it won’t always be you. If you lack the confidence to use English or the confidence to speak with other people in English, the confidence to speak with other people in English, not just to become a better English user but also to develop and achieve some of those bigger ambitions that you have for yourself.
Now I really, really wish that this video was called ‘Three simple steps to become confident.’ If only it was that simple!
But there are a number of things that you can do to help build self-confidence and allow you to become a more confident person.
And we’re going to start with mindset. The way that you think, the thoughts that you have, the things that you say to yourself are completely in your control. They’re one of the only things that are. We have the ability to be mean and critical of ourselves. We also have the ability to be kind and to be supportive of ourselves.
Now let’s talk about something that I know you’ve said before:
My English is bad.
Sorry for my English…
You say this or you think this to yourself a lot. And guess what? You start believing it, you start accepting it. And I know it might sound silly but the messages that we tell ourselves, they’re the ones that tend to stick. What if you were to say
“My English is a work in progress”
Or “I know my English isn’t perfect, but I’m improving every day.”
And “I’m excited about the progress that I’m making.”
See how we just shifted those thoughts? Shifted them to become a little more positive. If you catch yourself thinking or saying something negative about your English, try to stop it, catch it, spin it a little, be a little bit more generous to yourself.
So here’s the thing, confidence grows as we become more competent. Now when you’re competent, it means that you have the skills and the ability to do something successfully or do it well. So as you become better at something, as you become more able to do it, your confidence grows and that makes sense, right? Especially when it comes to learning a language. There is definitely a whole period of time where you just don’t have the skills that you need to communicate successfully.
So how do you become more competent? Well you start. You try. You experience and then you mess up and then you try it again. This is exactly how you build competence. You’ve got to put in the time, you’ve got to be stubborn and persistent. You have to keep showing up and keep doing it.
This is why I really love doing the Lingoda Marathon. It helped me to be stubborn and be persistent with my Spanish because I was like “Well yeah, I’ve paid for it so I’ve just got to keep doing it. I’ve got to keep going, right?”
And that helped. Over time I became more competent and so my confidence grew. Now I still have a lot of work to do on my Spanish but I’ve shown myself what’s possible. When it comes to setting goals for ourselves, we tend to make them too big or difficult or complicated and this is really detrimental or really bad for your or our self-confidence.
We need goals that we can get to. We need to feel a little bit of success, you know, to help us keep moving forward. If your skill level is here and you attempt to do something up here, it may be fail. Well of course your confidence is going to be shattered at that point but if you attempt to do something here, you’re much more likely to succeed. And then you prove to yourself that you’re able to do it. You’re much more likely to come back and try it again. That time you’ll be going for the next level and this is how you build self-confidence.
Now this is something we really focus on inside The Ladies’ Project. If you haven’t heard me talk about it before this is my online community that supports women who are learning English as a Second Language. My team and I prepare structured lessons and conversation topics specifically to help our members learn vocabulary, practise the correct pronunciation and useful grammar structures to help them have conversations. This helps them to feel more competent, more able to participate in the conversations because they know the language. So naturally they’re creating more and more self-confidence to participate in group conversations self-confidence to participate in group conversations they participate. Some of them even host group conversations in English, something that they would never have dreamt of when they first joined The Ladies’ Project.
This is evidence of building confidence by building competence. Any woman can become a more confident English speaker by following our program and participating in our conversations inside The Ladies’ Project.
And enrollments are just about to open. Membership starts from as little as thirty-five dollars a month so you can check it out here or follow the link in the description to find out more.
Preparation is something that you’ve heard me talk about before. I’m a planner. Being prepared helps you to feel in control and more competent, more able to do whatever it is you’ve been trying to do whether that’s speaking to a native English speaker or presenting on stage or applying for a job, whatever it is, when you prepare, you feel more confident. When it comes to speaking in English, this is so relevant.
Most conversations start the same way. Most conversations start the same way. When you meet new people, there are always just a handful of topics that you talk about: your job, the weather, where you’re from. It’s totally possible to prepare for conversations in this way and prepare well you know, practise your answers out loud over and over again until those words start coming out of you without you even thinking about it. You can also practise questions to ask in those conversations as well and this is just as important as having answers right? It helps you to be able to continue the conversation.
Focusing on being fluent in these simple conversation topics will help to give you more confidence as you go into them. Preparation helps you to become more competent so it helps you to build more confidence in conversations.
If we’re talking about self-confidence and building it, we really need to talk about posture and body language. So we’re talking about the way that you sit, the way that you walk, the way that you give people your attention, the expression on your face when you’re talking to them, all of these things are so powerful and it works in two ways because it affects how you feel about yourself on the inside and how others perceive you, what they think about you.
So I want you to try it with me now. Slump your shoulders forward, hunch down. Notice how that feels. Then lift your shoulders, pull them back, put your head up, put your chin up, look straight forward and most importantly, curl up the corners of your mouth a little, just into a little smile.
Can you notice how different you feel inside? How much that affects your mood and the way that you feel about yourself? We have so much power to change our perspective, to change the way that we think about ourselves. We just need to get into the habit of doing it more and really, that’s just about being aware, about noticing when you’re looking down or you’re slumped in a chair and simply changing that.
This alone does so much to create more self-confidence in you and as an added bonus, it helps to make you appear more confident to the others around you. So our whole conversation has been around building self-confidence and one of the best strategies that I’ve been using is to keep a list of things that you’ve achieved, things that I’m proud of things and I keep it nearby every day.
And the reason is, we are so quick to forget our achievements. We pay so much attention to our failures. I don’t know about you but I always have a to-do list next to me. I’m constantly looking at it, reminding myself of all of the things that I haven’t done yet, all the things that I haven’t been able to achieve. This just makes me feel bad and overwhelmed so I found that keeping this extra list, this second list of achievements helps me to see and helps me to remember the progress and helps me to remember the progress that I’ve been making and I encourage you to do it too.
Every time you sit down to write out your list of things that you need to do, take a peek at the other one, that you need to do, take a peek at the other one, and full of inspiration to help you keep moving forward. What I always try to remind myself is that right now is just one moment in time. The English speaker that you are right now doesn’t define who you are or who you’re going to be.
If you’re committed to growth and development then this moment is fleeting. It will be gone like that!
I guess what I really want you to take away from this video take away from this video is not going to help you but focusing on the new skills and the new experiences that you’re having will help you to notice this change in yourself. Notice that self-confidence as it’s developing and it’s growing. Just be kinder to yourself. Recognise that you’ve got to put in the time, you’ve got to put in the hours to become competent and that this will help you to build self-confidence and ultimately become a more confident person, a more confident English speaker.
It’s not the easiest thing to do but there are clear steps that you can take to help you get there. Well I really hope that you enjoyed this little chat. It means a lot to me if you give it a thumbs up and even more if you share it with your friends and your colleagues, especially those who really should hear some of the things that we’ve been talking about today.
Thank you so much for joining me and as always, I’ll see you next week!
Links mentioned in the video
DON’T SAY “SORRY!” | Better English vocabulary | How to Apologise
Building self confidence to speak confident English
Improve your pronunciation using Imitation