If you struggle actually speaking up in English, this is a confidence problem.
it has nothing do with your ability and all about being brave.
A low pressure learning space is ideal for learning the skills, vocabulary and techniques, we can expose you to more challenging circumstances later.
The formula to gain confidence speaking is PRACTICE + FEEDBACK (native speaker) + MOTIVATION + ACTION PLAN = COACHING with Coco
It is one thing to be able to understand what is being said, to read, to write, but actually speaking in a foreign language can be nerve wrecking, can’t it?
But let’s look at this carefully. What are you nervous about?
Are you worried about making mistakes?
If so, do you never make mistakes in your own language? I know that I do. I can correct it faster in English but I still correct myself or articulate myself better, perhaps by adding a detail, using a verb that isn’t quite so strong or perhaps my voice does something funny and I have to repeat myself to be understood.
That’s normal, making mistakes is ok.
Making mistakes is a charming quirk of human nature. It actually makes you more approachable, who likes Ms Pretty Perfect anyway?
It’s about speaking out loud. Making yourself heard.
Not everything makes sense the first time around, and it is only when we hear ourselves saying something weird that we realise that and I don’t know about you, but in my head, the mind monkeys kick in with ‘Corinne, do you want to try that again?’ That’s being respectful to your audience, especially if their facial expressions are crying out for clarification.
You are looking at their faces aren’t you?
Observation is key here, listen and watch.
Perhaps you worry about pronouncing something incorrectly, or saying it wrong?
But again, I ask you – Why?
If someone doesn’t understand you, they have two options
a) suffer in silence and hope that they can work it out, as the discussion progresses
b) ask you to say that word again “Could you just repeat that for me please, I didn’t quite catch it?” – polite but better than hoping and praying
If they are genuinely interested in what you are saying, they will ask you to clarify, because they don’t want to miss anything.
If they aren’t really interested, then the problem is not your pronunciation, it is your communication skills and delivery techniques that are to blame, don’t just blame it on one word that is wrongly spoken. Instead, think about your message, your vocabulary, your body language, your gestures or is there something that you could improve to pull people into your message?
That is exactly why I offer communication coaching in English.
If you want to activate your English, you need to speak up, try different techniques and be brave about making a bigger impression. The coaching is in English and the activities, conversations, presentations, pitches, negotiations and all the business discussions are in English, so that you are practicing your English is a constructive way. The communication skills are transferable into any language but having learned them in English makes them easier to use in front of an international audience.
My approach is not to drag you through a coursebook – after all that didn’t boost your fluency at school did it?
Neither do I focus on reading and writing, you can do that!
You need to practice. I create a safe space to do that
Working with me gives you the opportunity to actually practice speaking in English about the topics, subjects or issues that matter to you for your career or business. If you want to be able to have a decent, adult conversation in English, you need to practice that.
Or do you think that you are so smart that you expect to be able to do it immediately?
I sincerely doubt that you are that arrogant
Boost your English, Network and knowledge at the same time.
At the same time as we are working on your communication skills we will be boosting your knowledge so that you can incorporate it into your conversations, an alternative approach used in a different company or industry, or another more modern approach to handling something that is causing a problem. Knowledge is power – but only if you can use it to the advantage of the people that count.
You’ll also be flooding your Linkedin feed with English speaking contacts, so that you are surrounding yourself with English speaking experts, which means you’ll be learning more, reading more in English, becoming more familiar with the way that other people talk about your topics, the vocabulary they use, the delivery skills they use and that will have an impact not only on your network and knowledge but on your delivery skills. You become a better communicator by osmosis.
Once you do have the confidence, having practiced with me and incorporating the feedback from a native speaking coach in a way that is inspiring and reswarding, you will already have the contacts and know how to take your career to the next level.
Leadership is all about impactful communication.
If you sound and look the part, then you are positioned in the eyes of your audience as the expert.
Isn’t it time that you put yourself first?
Let’s make sure that you are reaching your maximum potential, rather than hiding and playing small and let’s make sure that it is rewarding, constructive, inspiring and fun.
There’s no shame in laughter lines if you’re the expert you know.
Are you a pseudospeaker of English?
Well if you say that you speak English but prefer not to, then yes, I am sorry to break it to you Honey, but yes you are.
But that is ok, you are not alone and I am here to help you break free of that and start showing up as the expert that you are.
The trick to speaking up is to practice consistently, and most inhibited language learners of a business language go through this process to gain confidence
Start at the bottom. At the exit sign.
You are the apprehensive smiley to start with. Anxious, self conscious, cautious. Take the escape door
1) For as long as you are not confident to speak to other people be sure to talk to yourself as often as possible in English . Can you find the right words? Hold that thought, write it down, you can look it up later, now just keep thinking in English. Imagine that your mind monkeys are British, super polite so make their language warm and supportive. The trick is to speak out loud if at all possible. (To avoid people thinking that you are going crazy, you can do this in the bathroom, the toilet, whilst jogging or in the car). Speaking in your head doesn’t count, because you cannot ‘hear’ the gaps in your knowledge.
Next is the black emoji, you are on the other side of the escape door, but it feels dark and scary
2) Start forcing yourself to join the conversation. Even if it is just one comment, make sure that you are not the invisible one, be brave and add a short comment. Agree with someone and add your reason or perspective or example but stand out of the shadow’s Honey,! After all you are an expert in your own right, it’s time to start owning that.
3) Take advantage of informal situations, things with a low expectation of your English level, chat to English speaking staff in the office at the vending machine, kitchen or canteen. Jump onto Clubhouse, not just to listen – nope – that was the other side of the escape door. You need to be brave, speak up, be a part of the conversation. It doesn’t have to be a business conversation yet, but start speaking. Start looking at online events and plan ahead with some inspiring get togethers to attend via Eventbrite or Meetup. Events are a great way to keep you accountable.
Reach out for some conversations at work in English.
4) Call a client or supplier instead of emailing them, force yourself to be more approachable. The great thing about a telephone conversation is that you can cheat by preparing in advance and have bullet points ready. For relationship building this is a game changer, sure, it takes a little more bravery and time, but believe me it will pay off.
Attend more English language group calls and meetings
Be a part of the business conversation.
5) You’ll be feeling more confident speaking by now, so look out for opportunities to practice speaking in a professional group or team meeting. Not just to listen remember but to contribute, after all, you want to be a part of the solution, right? For the 80% of the time that you are not speaking switch into active listening mode and listen to not only what is being said, but how it is being said. Which words and phrases are the confident speakers and possibly native speakers using that are not familiar to you. Write them down (they’ll think that you are just interested and making notes, so no need to be self conscious. Write all of your vocabulary and phrases on the right of the page to keep them separate from your other notes and mark any pronunciation differences with a P or a pink marker. Grammatical differences like word order or tenses with green or a g and vocabulary with blue or b.
The question mark
6) This is where people start coming to you for advice, suggestions, explanations and instructions. You’re being recognised as an expert by English speakers in your organisation. Now it is time to start being of service to your industry, start connecting every single work day, even if it is just one person, but ideally 3 people. Invite, connect, like, comment, recommendation, share something interesting and tag them. You’ll soon start to see that your Linkedin feed is looking and feeling more international, so share your knowledge, insights, knowledge, resources, tips and tricks and remember to connect people whenever you can. This makes you visible to industry leaders and headhunters and works wonders for your self confidence
The blushing smiley with a crown
7) You’ve cracked it, you feel comfortable speaking now, you are creating videos for Linkedin and joining Live sessions as an expert and are getting asked to give sessions at barcamps, conferences and perhaps speeches. You are seen as an English speaking experts and headhunters could be bordering on annoying now but you’re smart and keeping your eyes peeled for opportunities, you can keep them at a distance until you are ready in English of course and you working with more interntational teams, suppliers, clients and projects. Expat opportunities are increasingly an interesting option
Now on your own this might seem like a ‘pie in the sky idea’ but it’s not, it’s real, it’s a natural progression simply by exposing yourself to more opportunities and by practicing in an increasingly complex and inspiring range of business situations. If you want someone to inspire you and give you language feedback so that you are not learning the wrong language then tell me what your goals are and we can put together an action plan. If you decide to work with me, that’s great but if not, you have an action plan to run with
Let’s have a cuppa
If you are interested in finding out more about how I can work with you, just book in for Virtual Tea Break.
This is not a sales call.
It is a discovery call to find out if you would be a good fit for me and of course if you could imagine working with me to finally get over this barrier that you are putting up for yourself.
And if you still feel awkward about speaking up in English, check out how a beauty contest participants took the brave and unusual decision to give a speech. She learned everything she needed to know from Toastmasters and they were with her every step of the way on this terrifying journey of self discovery https://www.toastmasters.org/magazine/magazine-issues/2021/may/miss-universe-china #toastmasters