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  • Hi, I'm Gina, welcome to Oxford Online English.

  • In this lesson you can learn how to sound more confident when you speak English.

  • When we ask students, “Why do you want to learn English,” often people don't talk

  • about their language skills.

  • They talk about their feelings.

  • They say things like: “I don't feel confident when I'm speaking

  • English.”

  • “I'm afraid my English sounds bad.”

  • “I want to feel better about my English.”

  • Does this sound like you?

  • In this lesson, you can learn some simple, effective tips to sound more confident speaking

  • English.

  • We'll show you ideas that anyone can use.

  • We have a saying in English: “Fake it till you make it.”

  • Have you heard it?

  • If not, can you guess what it means?

  • It means that confidence starts on the outside.

  • You need to act confident and sound confident, even if you don't feel confident.

  • So, if you lack confidence when you speak English, you have to 'fake it'.

  • You have to act confident, even though you don't feel confident.

  • This is important to understand: there isn't some sort of magical switch you can flip and

  • suddenly feel confident.

  • Feeling more confident is a journey which will take time and work.

  • Remember: to improve your English confidence, you need to accept that you might not feel

  • confident right away.

  • That's okay!

  • The first steps towards confidence in your spoken English are on the outside.

  • So, what can you actually do?

  • When you're not confident in your English, you'll probably do three things:

  • One: you'll speak too quietly.

  • Two: you'll try to speak too fast.

  • Three: you'll speak in fragments, using single words and phrases instead of full sentences.

  • For example:

  • "Martin, did you have a good weekend?"

  • "Not bad.

  • Just stayed at home."

  • Did that sound, or look, confident?

  • Not really!

  • Let's try again.

  • "Hey Martin, did you have a good weekend?"

  • "It was kind of boring, actually!

  • I didn't go anywhere or do anything.

  • What about you?"

  • See the difference?

  • Even though I still had a boring weekend and didn't have anything interesting to say,

  • I was still able to sound confident and comfortable.

  • There are three things you can do here, but before you start, I'd like you to do something:

  • record yourself talking in English for one minute.

  • Introduce yourself and talk a little about your life.

  • Go on, pause the video and do it now, then come back!

  • Listen to the recording.

  • How does it sound?

  • Do you sound confident?

  • Next, let's get back to what you can do to sound more confident in English.

  • First, control the volume of your voice.

  • Confident people speak at a high, clear volume.

  • You don't have to shout, but your voice should be loud enough that anyone in the same

  • room could understand you clearly.

  • Secondly, control the speed of your voice.

  • When you're nervous, it's normal to try to speak faster.

  • If you try to speak too fast, you'll sound less confident, and also make more mistakes.

  • Slowing down will help you in many ways.

  • You'll sound more confident, you'll be easier to understand when you speak English,

  • and you'll make fewer mistakes.

  • Finally, speak in full sentences.

  • If you're not confident in your spoken English, you'll try to say as little as possible.

  • To sound confident, you should show that you're not scared of speaking English.

  • So, use full sentences.

  • Now it's time to make another recording.

  • Even better, make three recordings.

  • Each should be around one minute.

  • Talk about yourself and your life, like you did before.

  • The first time, focus on the volume of your voice.

  • Try to speak loudly and clearly.

  • The second time, focus on speed.

  • Try to slow down and speak at a clear, controlled pace.

  • The third time, focus on speaking in full sentences.

  • Listen to the recordings.

  • Compare them to the first recording you made.

  • Do they sound better?

  • Next, try to use these points when you talk English in real life.

  • Remember, you might not feel confident, but you will sound more confident.

  • If you sound more confident, people will respond to you differently.

  • Try ityou might be surprised how much difference these simple points make!

  • When you see how people respond to you, you'll feel more confident in your English.

  • Do you ever say things like this?

  • Sorry about my English.”

  • Sorry.

  • I know my English is really bad.”

  • Here's a question: why?

  • No, seriously, why say these things?

  • What's the point?

  • When you say things like this, you get two results:

  • One: you reinforce your negative feelings by expressing them.

  • Two: you show the person you're talking to that you don't believe in yourself.

  • And, if you don't believe in yourself, why should anyone else?

  • Neither of these is a good result.

  • So, what's the solution?

  • Very simple: stop apologising for your English!

  • It's a waste of time.

  • First of all, if you're talking to me, and your English is really bad, I can see that

  • already.

  • I don't need you to tell me.

  • More importantly, most people won't judge you for your English.

  • Most people in the world aren't interested in your English at all.

  • If someone's talking to you, they're talking to you to be friendly, or because they want

  • something from you, or because they're interested in your ideas.

  • They're not talking to you to see how good your English is.

  • And even if the person you're talking to is judging your English, what can you do about

  • it at that moment?

  • Nothing at all.

  • So, why apologise?

  • Why feel bad?

  • It doesn't help.

  • Okay, maybe you can't help feeling bad, though you shouldn't.

  • But, you can control what you say.

  • Don't apologise for your English.

  • Never apologise for your English.

  • Here's something about me.

  • I don't speak Tamil, or Slovenian, or Xhosa.

  • Not one word!

  • Should I feel bad about that?

  • Should I apologise, and say, “Hey, I'm really sorry about my bad Tamil, and my bad

  • Slovenian.

  • Oh, and my terrible Xhosa, sorry about that, too.

  • And sorry about my Navajo, and my Finnish, and my Korean, and…”

  • Okay, Martin, okay.

  • We get it.

  • Hopefully, you see how unnecessary it is now.

  • Even if your English is bad, so what?

  • Don't be sorry; go get better instead.

  • Never apologise for your English!

  • I want you to do something for me.

  • Pause the video and write down three situations where you would feel nervous about speaking

  • English.

  • Have you got three situations?

  • What are they?

  • Maybe you wrote something like this:

  • Talking to a native speaker.

  • Making a speech in front of my class.

  • Making a presentation at work.

  • Now, for each of your three situations, I want you to create three different levels:

  • easy, medium and hard.

  • What do we mean here?

  • Let's take the example of talking to a native speaker.

  • Many English learners have told us that they feel nervous talking to native English speakers.

  • So, we need three different levels of this situation: easy, medium, and hard.

  • Here's a suggestion:

  • Easy: say 'hello' to a native speaker.

  • Medium: introduce yourself to a native speaker and ask 1-2 questions.

  • Hard: have a 5-minute conversation with a native speaker.

  • Okay, so what now?

  • Go out and do them, of course!

  • Start with the easy challenge.

  • Repeat it several times, if you want.

  • Then, go to the medium challenge.

  • Again, you can do it more than once.

  • Finally, try the hard challenge.

  • Of course, this isn't something you can just do.

  • This might take you days or weeks.

  • Also, the exact challenges you set yourself will depend on your English level and your

  • situation.

  • The key points: the easy challenge should be really easysomething that's not a

  • challenge for you at all.

  • The medium challenge should make you think, “That's difficult, but I can do it.”

  • The hard challenge should make you think, “Can I really do this?”

  • Let's do another example.

  • Let's take the idea of making a presentation at work.

  • We need three challenges:

  • Easy challenge: ask a question or make a point in a meeting.

  • Medium challenge: make a short presentation to a small group.

  • Hard challenge: volunteer to make a longer presentation to a big group.

  • Again, these are just examples.

  • You should think carefully about your challenges, because they should be personal to you.