We’ve all been there. The drop in your stomach, the breakout of sweat, weak knees, stammering, clammy palms, anxiety racing through your veins- sounds familiar? Speaking in front of others in English does this to most of us.
Last week, the team at LearnEd had the chance to conduct a really interesting Live Discussion: Overcome Performance Anxiety in Formal Conversations. Over one and a half hour, the discussion allowed our participants to discuss openly with our internationally trained facilitators about what it is that makes us fear speaking in public. The facilitator also took the participants through an in-depth presentation on what the possible causes are, how fear and anxiety can come together to make a bad situation worse, and how past traumas make us fear things even more.
The highlight of this discussion was a point wherein the participants shared incidents from their own experience of speaking in English in formal conversations. Right from breaking out into a cold sweat in front of bosses to being confused as to which language to speak in, we could all relate. The beauty of the conversation lies in the fact that through this session, we could all speak about those incidents without feeling as scared.
Freezing or forgetting what you have to say, being nervous when handling formal conversations in English is normal. We are worried about ensuring that we use the right words, we are scared that our previous bad experiences of public speaking will repeat themselves, we are worried that the people listening to us are constantly judging us.
How do we tackle this fear?
Fear of English amplifies fear of speaking in front of others. Try separating the two and see where you get. When discussing incidents where we felt anxiety while speaking, we also spoke of what helped us recover from it. Breathing techniques and just taking a moment to center yourself often work perfectly. Know that you’re prepared, that you’ve practiced and you’ll get through this.
For more everyday conversations where we don’t always get that chance to prepare beforehand or rehearse but where that fear still haunts us, there is another way out. Practice not for one conversation, practice for them all. Set a system for yourself wherein you dedicate a set amount of time every day to speak in English. Do it with another person if you can, or in front of the mirror, but practice. Let your safety net become wider with regular English conversations. That is where we also believe that LearnEd comes in.
Our programmes are tailored for you- you who know English but are scared to use it because you don’t get enough practice. Through our personalised learning courses and webinars, get ready to cast your fears away!