You’ve probably figured out that having conversations in English isn’t just about learning everything you possibly can. It’s about building your confidence to start and carry those conversations, too.

As a teacher, this is one of the most significant areas of struggle for my students.

I can give you all the encouragement and language preparation possible. Still, if you don’t believe in your own abilities, it will be much more difficult for you to strike up an interesting conversation with your English-speaking colleagues and acquaintances or with new people that you meet on your travels.

Maybe you’ve even had this conversation with your English teacher before. 

“My goal with English is to do x, y, or z, but I can’t because my English is still so bad,” you say.

“Your English isn’t bad! You just need a bit more practice,” says your teacher.

“Thank you, but I know that’s not true.”

When my students say that, I know there’s not much I can say to convince them of the opposite. 

But I can show them, over time, the things they have been able to accomplish with English. They’ve been able to do things like carrying a conversation with me, talking to a colleague, applying for a job, attending a job interview, writing an essay, or traveling to an English-speaking country without worrying too much. 

In other words, they gain confidence by seeing what they’re specifically able to do in English.

So, how can you believe in yourself enough to start an English conversation with anyone?

Today, we’re going to talk about six tips and strategies to build up your confidence with speaking:

  1. Shift your mindset about making mistakes.

  2. Do your “homework” before a conversation.

  3. Practice these “pocket phrases” for different situations.

  4. Talk to strangers.

  5. Talk to a teacher.

  6. Make a list of everything you’ve accomplished in English so far.

So,  if you’re ready for a shift in perspective and some helpful strategies, let’s get started!

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