6 steps to overcome your fear of speaking in English

Updated: Jun 2

Speaking is a skill like swimming, driving or riding a bike. The only way one can be proficient in speaking English is to actually keep talking! It's completely normal to feel anxious when you're learning and speaking in a new language. Here are 6 steps below to help you -

Step 1: Understand your fear

What exactly are you afraid of? Fear of speaking in a foreign language usually boils down to being afraid to fail or fear of looking silly.

To relax, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and remember that no one expects you to speak perfectly when it’s not your native language!

Step 2: Practice your listening

If you’re relatively inexperienced with your new language, you won’t understand every word. You may not even understand very many words at all.

Working on your listening ability by listening to the radio or watching TV in your target language will always help your speaking skills. You can improve vocabulary and pronunciation through listening alone, but it’s no substitute for real conversation.

Step 3: Let go of the need for perfection

You’ll never speak a language fluently without speaking a broken version of it first! The sooner you start talking, the sooner you’ll reach a conversational level.

It may be frustrating to feel like you’re making mistakes, but this will ultimately be outweighed by the reward of using the language long-term. So embrace your mistakes!

Step 4: Seek out one-on-one conversations

When a group of native speakers get together, the conversation will usually speed up and become more complex. One-on-one conversations are easier. Private lessons are a way to ensure you get this experience, while also benefiting from input from an expert.

If you want to speak with a stranger, the key is not to think about it too much. Act on impulse – the longer you think about it, the harder it’ll be. If you’re travelling or learning a language in immersion, these conversations with strangers are often where the best memories start!

Step 5: Don’t be discouraged when a conversation doesn’t go well

Some people you speak to will be more patient than others, some are more understanding, and some are simply better at understanding foreign accents. When you encounter someone who’s impatient or rude to you while you’re trying to speak their language, don’t be deterred – in this case, it’s their problem!

Step 6: Practice basic, everyday conversations

Many of the same conversations will come up again and again in everyday life. If you’re dining out at a restaurant, getting drinks in a bar or going shopping, most interactions follow a similar pattern.

If you’re lacking confidence in the language you’re learning, these conversations should be your first step. People are also likely to be patient with you if they’re selling you something!

Finally, try using Speakzee for speaking to native english speakers!