Are you afraid to speak English?

There’s an old saying that practice makes perfect.

When it comes to English fluency, practice is by far the most important tool in our toolbox. Few of us ever reach a level of perfection, but if we wanted to approach it, we would certainly need to practice a lot.

However, do we really want to be perfect? There is no single ‘perfect’ way to speak English. English is used globally now and we speak it differently depending on our birthplace, where we reside and who we speak English with. There’s Tinglish (Thai-English), Singlish (Singaporean-English), Spanglish (Spanish-English) and Hinglish (Hindi-English) along with many other variations. At Glish, it’s the accent, the slang, and the differences between us that make our conversations so interesting and enjoyable.

What we really want is to be able to communicate effectively. To speak with people from different countries with a more globalized English is our goal. So, let’s forget about becoming perfect and focus instead on improving our listening and speaking skills. This takes practice. Unfortunately, many people are afraid to speak English and it keeps them from practicing conversations. Are you one of them?

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Most of our clients have studied English for years but they feel nervous or anxious when it comes to speaking. That’s quite normal. Most of us feel nervous about speaking another language. The English courses we studied didn’t offer much conversation practice. Many of us think we need to master the grammar or have a better vocabulary before we begin speaking. Some of us are embarrassed to speak incorrectly, so we hesitate to speak. 

The perfect is the enemy of good enough.

This old aphorism means that we might never complete a task if our goal is perfection. Speaking is a different sort of muscle than reading and writing, and we need to exercise it to make it stronger. That’s where practice comes in. What if ‘good enough’ was our goal instead of perfection? Would we be less afraid?

Glish coaches are here to help. We’re friendly and easy going. We won’t judge you. We’re patient and we’ll help you feel more confident. We’re your personal coach and cheerleader. We practice making our clients comfortable and we’re pretty good at it.

If I start practicing now, how long will it take to get results using the Glish method?

The good news is that by the 4th practice session you’ll suddenly realize the process has become easier. You’ll notice it’s not as difficult to understand the media you selected. It’s easier to describe the story for your coach. When the conversation ends, you’ll wonder how the time passed so quickly. 

The ‘ah-ha!’ moment.

You’ll have an ‘ah-ha’ moment when you realize you can, actually, communicate quite well. The coach can understand you and you can understand the coach. You realize you can speak English, however imperfectly. It builds your confidence and encourages you to keep trying. You’ll start looking forward to future sessions with your coach.

The Glish method may seem difficult at first. It isn’t a piece of cake (it’s not easy). It’s targeted to intermediate/advanced English learners. But we promise it gets easier with practice. The more you practice, the more fluent you become. If you commit to one 30-minute conversation per week, you can expect your fluency to steadily improve each week.

Here are four tips to help you start with the Glish method.

  1. Start with shorter videos (5 – 8 minutes). Here’s a good example.
  2. Use the written transcript (TED.com provides these) to help you summarize it for your coach. Print the transcript, make notes on it, look up vocabulary, highlight the key sentence in each paragraph. This will help you tell the story.
  3. Take it slow. Sometimes when we’re nervous we rush ourselves. Take a breath, slow down, and articulate (pronounce words carefully). Glish coaches are patient and don’t mind waiting for you to find the word you’re looking for.
  4. If you need to take a break from speaking, ask your coach a question, or ask for their opinion, and practice your listening skills.

Be persistent and keep practicing.

The Glish method works! The reward for your effort is better fluency and fascinating conversations.

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