By Daksayani Ganeson, Lecturer, School of Education, MPU and Language
When was the last time I stood in front of an audience to speak English?
I had to memorize what I needed to say, I felt nervous and my voice was shaky!
I scanned through the room to see if anyone liked my presentation, looking for feedback from the faces around. People made eye contact and I wished they didn’t know how anxious I was!
Does this sound like you? Maybe you were in the same position not long ago? Fret not, here are 7 tips to boost your confidence in spoken English.
Reading out loud
Start with something simple or a text you know well. Practice reading in front of a mirror and listen to the way you say the words. Once you are more confident you can practice reading aloud in front of a friend or family member; you can even graduate to a more difficult text the more comfortable you become. The more you practice the more confident you will feel. It’s okay to stumble on a few words or have to look a word or two up in the dictionary. In fact, you can even skip a few words. Just continue to read.
Repeating television or radio lines or songs
Turn on your favourite English station and try to mimic what you hear. This will help you with proper pronunciation, grammar, understanding various phrases, and to practice the speed of everyday speech. Who knows, you might even become a better singer!
Well, this one might be a little difficult because most people don’t like the sound of their own voice. However, the more you practice and listen to yourself, the more comfortable you will become with the sound of it. The key is to listen carefully to the playback and see where you can improve. Listen to the way you pronounce words and how your voice sounds. Try it now!
Understand your body language
Want to give off a confident vibe? Stand up straight. It is a great way to present yourself as a confident individual. Body language is just as important during a conversation as are your choice of words. If you stand up straight with your shoulders back and your head held high your confidence will precede you.
Breathe! Smile 😉
Breathe! Breathe! Breathe! Something that is easy to forget when you are nervous. Take a deep breath before you speak. And not forgetting to give your best smile. Smiling has a positive impact on people’s mood, making them feel happier and calmer. Use this to your advantage when speaking English to feel happier and more confident.
Yes, that’s right! Before you speak English, imagine yourself speaking clearly and fluently. By visualising the most positive outcome of the situation, you will feel confident and know what you are aiming for. Trust me, this would definitely be helpful.
Finally, it’s time to celebrate your strengths. Make a list of the things you can already do well in English and keep it to date. When you look down the list of all the things you are already great at, it will make you feel more confident.
Feeling confident, yet? Commit to trying one of these techniques today and see how much more confident it makes you feel.
Image from Freepik.com “https://www.freepik.com/photos/education”Education photo created by standret