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  • Hi I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and welcome to this week's

  • newest lesson. This is of course where you want to be every week if your goal

  • is to communicate with confidence. This week we're focused on five mistakes you

  • might be making and if you are they can hurt your fluency and your confidence in

  • English. So of course we want to stop making those mistakes and we want to do

  • something a little bit different so that you can start making progress. So if you

  • feel like you are doing everything right - you are practicing grammar and trying to

  • learn new vocabulary, maybe you're listening to podcasts and reading

  • English online, you're reading newspapers watching movies and TV shows, if you're

  • doing all those things and nothing is working or maybe you really want to be

  • fluent in English but you just can't find the time right now or you're

  • worried that maybe you're just not good at learning English, you just can't be

  • fluent you're never going to be confident like someone else, if any of

  • those sound like you then today's lesson is a hundred percent for you because you

  • might be making some mistakes that make you feel that way. And the truth is you

  • can absolutely become fluent and confident in English. This is what I do

  • every day and I work with students who like you felt that it was impossible.

  • They thought they were doing everything right and nothing was working for them.

  • Now before we get started with the first mistake you might be making I want to

  • tell you that today's lesson might include a little bit of tough love. When

  • we talk about giving someone tough love in English what we mean is that we might

  • say or do something that seems strict or too strong

  • maybe it's harsh, it's something you don't want to hear but we say it because

  • we want to help you. I'm going to say some things because I want to see you

  • succeed I don't want you to stay stuck, I don't want you to feel frustrated, I

  • don't want you to give up on English. I want you to be successful so I'm going

  • to share a little bit of tough love with you but I'm also going to help you find

  • solutions so that you can stop making these mistakes and start making real

  • progress. Mistake number one is doing this same old thing again and again in

  • English and when I say same old thing what I mean is that you're doing the

  • same things you did when you first started to learn English -

  • you probably started with a grammar book in a classroom and you did grammar

  • activities. You learned rules and you memorized lists of words. All of those

  • things are great as a beginner English learner. You have to create a foundation

  • of course you need to understand grammar rules and you need vocabulary to get

  • started but as you make progress as you advance you need to change how you learn

  • and use English. If your goal is fluency and confidence, those don't come from a

  • grammar book and they don't come from memorizing lists of words. I get a lot of

  • emails with questions like, Anne Marie do you have a grammar book to recommend to

  • help me speak English better or Anne Marie what vocabulary do I need to speak

  • fluently and the truth is it's not grammar or

  • vocabulary. It is speaking and practice speaking that will help you become

  • fluent and confident. So if you're waiting to buy the new best grammar book

  • or if you're wondering what vocabulary to learn so that you can communicate

  • fluently, I want to tell you that the real answer is learning to use English.

  • So let's try a new way to do that. The first thing I want you to do is put away

  • your grammar book. Yes grammar is important but we're going

  • to start looking at how grammar is used in real life so what I would recommend

  • is that you choose a blog that you're interested in reading in English or

  • listen to a podcast (if you need help I have a great lesson on eleven fantastic

  • podcasts to listen to in English). So the first step is choosing something to read

  • or listen to in English and that will help you see how we use grammar in real

  • life and then the next step, the more important step, is talk about it. You can

  • talk about it with a friend or maybe someone that you work with or if you

  • have no one to practice with you can even practice by yourself. In fact right

  • now I have a free audio training that you can download where I share three

  • strategies to develop the courage and confidence to say what you want in

  • English and in those strategies I talk about things that you can do on your own

  • to practice speaking so you can use those to help you begin to use English

  • in your real life you're improving your listening, you're

  • reading, you're learning to understand how we use grammar and vocabulary in

  • real life and then you're immediately speaking. You're practicing it. You're

  • using it and that's how you begin to make progress on your fluency and

  • confidence. Mistake number two is closely related it's I'm doing everything but

  • nothing is working so maybe you are already reading blogs and

  • you're listening to podcasts you watch movies and TV shows you read newspapers

  • and yes you still do grammar activities and vocabulary activities you're doing

  • everything but nothing is working. I get so many emails and questions about this

  • because it's really frustrating to spend a lot of time on English and then still

  • feel nervous and shy or worried when you speak. When I get questions like this I

  • often say you are doing everything but are you speaking? One of the things I

  • notice when I see lists of everything you're doing - there's one thing that's

  • missing. It's speaking. I don't see anything like I'm speaking with my

  • friends at work or I practice speaking at lunch every day with my colleagues

  • and that is the key. All of those other things are fantastic and they are

  • absolutely essential to helping you improve your listening, your reading

  • skills, growing your vocabulary, learning how native speakers communicate and

  • different accents, and pronunciation but if you're not speaking you can't grow

  • your fluency and build your confidence. I want to use an example for you think

  • about when you first learned to ride a bike

  • you probably didn't read a lot of books about riding a bike

  • you probably didn't learn all the rules of a bike or the mechanics of how a bike

  • works. You didn't watch other people and then immediately get on a bike and ride

  • it successfully. Instead, one day someone helped you get on a bike and you were

  • probably super nervous. If you were like me you were off-balance and you

  • immediately fell over and maybe that fall was painful and you thought why am

  • I doing this? It's crazy! But you really wanted to learn to

  • ride a bike. Someone was there to help you, they picked you up, they encouraged

  • you, supported you so you got on the bike again you tried it. You did it. You moved

  • your legs and you balanced on the bike maybe you fell again and each time it

  • was less painful less difficult and it was easier to keep going forward that is

  • exactly how fluency works. And that is what happens when you begin practicing

  • speaking. It is hard at first. It's challenging and you might make some

  • mistakes but it's important to keep going forward and the key is that you're

  • speaking. Now if you are a really shy and nervous English speaker this is the

  • hardest part - the idea of making a mistake is terrifying

  • it's the one thing you don't want to do so what I recommend is that you make

  • sure you find someone - a friend a colleague a teacher - that you are

  • comfortable with, someone that makes you feel comfortable

  • that supports you and helps you go forward. That is who you want to practice

  • speaking with now. You might think Anne Marie this all sounds great but I

  • have no one to practice with, no one near me speaks English. There are a couple of

  • suggestions that I have for you. One you could try to find a language partner

  • online it is a challenge to do that but there are many websites or you could try

  • something like meetup.com which is a place where people who have similar

  • interests get together and maybe there is an English-speaking group near you. If

  • you're not ready to practice speaking with someone you can do some activities

  • on your own that will help you make progress. Again I have that free download

  • that you can listen to and learn those strategies that you can work on by

  • yourself and still make progress in your fluency and confidence. And my third

  • recommendation is invest in yourself, invest in your

  • English. If it's important to you, if you have a dream that you want to accomplish

  • and you need English to do that, invest in it. Find a teacher, a class that you

  • can take that will give you the speaking practice that you need. Not another

  • grammar class, not a bunch of vocabulary. You need someone that is going to give

  • you speaking and feedback. In fact that is exactly what my Fluency School course

  • is all about. Fluency School was specifically designed for shy English

  • speakers who want to practice speaking and who want to do it in a really

  • friendly, supportive, and motivating community. So if it's important to you

  • then, investing in what you want is also a fantastic option. The third mistake

  • that I often see is focusing on the negative,

  • believing that you can't. When nothing works and you're feeling stuck after

  • years and years of study you start to think that you just can't speak English

  • maybe other people can be fluent but you can't, you're just not good at learning

  • languages, you can understand English you just can't speak it. Negativity is

  • powerful. Negative thoughts make us feel unhappy, stressed, and unsatisfied. When we

  • focus on the negative it often leads us to feeling afraid and ultimately to

  • giving up but I want you to think about those negative thoughts a little

  • differently. Of course there is a lot of advice online that says turn negative

  • thoughts into positive ones and I don't agree a hundred percent because the

  • truth might be that you can't speak English fluently - yet. It might be true

  • that you're not confident in English - yet. It might be true that you don't have a

  • high level of vocabulary or you can't speak like someone else does in English

  • - yet. Did you notice that keyword that I used again and again? The word yet. The

  • word yet means up to now or at this point but it also gives us the hope and

  • the feeling that it can change it might change tomorrow, it might change next

  • week. If we work on it we can make progress, there is the opportunity to

  • reach our goal. So what I want you to do is to start focusing on the power of yet

  • instead of thinking I can't and if you're thinking but I don't know what to

  • do, I don't know how to take a step or make progress, my big hint is follow the

  • tips that I'm giving you today, whether it's finding a language partner, doing an

  • activity where you listen to a podcast and then practice speaking about it ,you

  • can use the strategies in my free audio download or maybe investing in a class

  • and we'll talk about a few more strategies as we go but all of those are

  • great steps to take that mean you are beginning to practice speaking in

  • English which will help you reach your goal of being fluent and confident. The

  • fourth mistake that I often see is believing that you don't have time.

  • Remember earlier in this video I said I might give you a little bit of tough

  • love today and this is where I'm going to do it. I often hear people say I

  • really want to be fluent I just can't find time or I don't have time. And it's

  • true that when we want to accomplish something we have to commit to it, we

  • have to work on it and that takes some of our time. It might be running a

  • marathon, participating in a competition, learning to play the piano, joining a

  • choir. It might be losing weight and getting fit. Those do require daily effort and

  • fluency confidence in English are the same. It

  • does require daily effort, it requires some of your time. Now it doesn't have to

  • be hours of time every day, it doesn't have to take over your life. It might be

  • five minutes on Mondays and 20 minutes on Tuesdays but here is the tough love,

  • here's the truth: it's not that you don't have time or you can't find the time. The

  • truth is you won't. You want to become fluent in English but you won't wake up

  • earlier than normal to do a little bit of studying. You want to be fluent in

  • English but you won't practice speaking with your colleague during lunch. You

  • want to be fluent in English but you won't make time in the evening to

  • practice. That's the tough love. The truth is we make choices about our time and we

  • make choices about our priorities. Now it might be true that right now you do want

  • to be fluent but it's not a priority. You won't wake up earlier to do it or you

  • won't find time in the evening and that is absolutely okay. There's nothing right

  • or wrong about your priorities but it's really important to be honest about them.

  • And here's why it's important: if we only believe that I can't, I can't find the

  • time, then we get frustrated and upset when something doesn't work or it

  • doesn't happen fast enough, so we start to believe that it's not possible for us,

  • that no strategy will work for us but that's not true.

  • You absolutely can become confident in English, you absolutely can become fluent

  • but it does mean giving time every day and it means speaking practice, it means

  • that you are using the language, it means that you create time

  • in your day for it, it becomes a priority. And I can tell you that the students who

  • are most successful in English, this is what makes them different, this is what

  • they do. They find time in their day for English. They create space for it and

  • again it might be five minutes on Monday while they walk the dog, on Tuesdays

  • maybe it's joining me for a class, and on Wednesdays they listen to a podcast on

  • the way to work and then they talk about it a little bit but every day they're

  • doing something in English and that is the key.

  • And finally mistake number five that I want you to avoid a hundred percent is

  • giving up. If you are making the other mistakes we've talked about then of

  • course you would feel discouraged and frustrated and you'll think it's just

  • not possible, but if you give up on your goal of being fluent and confident in

  • English it probably means that you're giving up something more. It might mean

  • giving up your hope for a promotion at your company or it might mean giving up

  • your hope for the most amazing dream job in English. It might mean giving up your

  • goal to go study abroad or it might be giving up the hope that you can feel

  • comfortable in English where you live and start to make friends and

  • communicate easily every day. And I don't want you to give up any of that. The

  • truth is fluency is a process, it's something that happens over time as you

  • commit, as you take steps forward every day that frustration begins to go away

  • and you get stuck less and less often. You stop losing words and you start

  • finding the words that you need when you want to say them. It becomes less scary

  • to start a conversation with some and to participate in a discussion at

  • work. But all of that only happens when you do everything else we've talked

  • about today: you start focusing on using English and you find ways to learn real

  • English - for example reading blogs or listening to podcasts and then you

  • practice talking about it (when you do that you immediately use the grammar and

  • vocabulary you've just learned). It means doing something every day in your

  • English and if necessary investing in it, giving yourself the opportunity to work

  • with a teacher, to participate in a class that is going to focus on your speaking.

  • So of course the solution to mistake number five is don't give up on your

  • English. That's much easier to say than it is to do. Not giving up means being

  • courageous, it might mean taking some risks,

  • it means practicing speaking and doing it every day but if it's your priority,

  • if it's something you really want to accomplish, then I know you can do it and

  • I know that you can find time in your day for English. Now if you're still here

  • and listening I'm thrilled that you are, this is a longer lesson than normal but

  • it also tells me you might be making one of those mistakes and you're ready to

  • stop making it so that you can begin making progress. So here is my challenge

  • question for you today and you can share your answer in the comments just below

  • the video or in the comment section of the online