If you are like most language learners I have met, then I would guess that you sometimes (or always) get scared before speaking (or even by the idea of speaking).
Even in foreign languages I speak fluently, I sometimes still get nervous, especially when I have not spoken in a long time or if I am speaking to someone new.
That is why I want share with you some recommendations that have worked for me when I get nervous speaking another language. I hope you will be able to apply these to your own English practice. Although maybe you will find these tips useful for a job interview, or talking to a cute boy or girl in your class.
What to do if you get nervous:
It may be obvious, but scientific studies have shown that focusing on deep breathing helps to lower anxiety by reducing stress-creating hormones. So even though this is obvious, don’t forget about it! First, become aware that you are nervous, then take at least 3 long breaths.
Don’t be a Perfectionist
Remember that everyone get nervous, it is part of the human condition. Being perfect is NOT the goal (even natives are not perfect), and in fact, studies have shown that having a mindset of needing to be perfect increases anxiety. Your only goal is to improve. How do we improve? By making lots and lots of mistakes!
Watch Your Body Language
Again, studies have shown that how we hold ourselves (our body language) affects how we feel! That is, if we use confident, open body language, we will feel more confident. But if we use closed body language, we will feel more submissive and nervous. So remember to stand up straight, make eye contact, and don’t cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets. Before you have to do something that scares you, try some power poses (If you haven’t watched this TedTalk yet, you need to!).
Remember your purpose, your why for learning (or why you want the job, why you want to talk to someone, etc.). You may even want to write it down (daily if you have a journaling habit). Doing this actually increases your motivation and helps you to overcome your fear.
Beware of Self-talk
Be aware of your self-talk [what you tell yourself in your head] because you will actually believe it! If you tell yourself that you are not good enough, this will increase you nervousness as you spin in a cycle of self-doubt. But if you constantly reassure yourself that you are good enough, you WILL feel more confident (you may want to watch this TedTalk for more on this).
Share your favorite tips!
These are just a few of my favorite tricks for combatting [fighting] nervousness. Of course, to overcome fear, we have to do more things that make us scared.
Being brave does not mean that you are not scared. It means that you are scared, but choose to overcome that fear so that you can be the best version of yourself!
So be courageous! Comment below and let us know what you usually do to overcome your nervousness.
And go kick some ass!
Take your English to the next level! Get VIP Access with our Newsletter!