Don’t let fear of making a mistake get in your way.
In my article on LinkedIn, I argue that there are only four things you should worry about when you speak or write in English.
Of these, the most important is what happens as a result of what you say. Does the other person understand what has to happen next? Have you answered or clarified a question, or given a clear idea of the next steps?
If you have done all this, it doesn’t matter if your grammar is simple, your vocabulary choice limited, or even that your pronunciation sounds mechanical, choppy or highly accented. I’d also argue that if you’ve done all this in a short space of time, using only the most necessary words, then the other person will thank you for saving their time.
So maybe a different thing to worry about is how to sound more professional when you use English. I’ve given a few suggestions in the LinkedIn article as well.
The “perfection” trap
The problem with perfection is that it stops us from moving forward. When we put most of our effort into perfect English (or the perfect dinner, the perfect present…) we stay with what we know. We “play it safe”. But when it comes to making improvements in English, we need to experiment with new things to make progress.
It will take a few times to practise a new word or a new grammar structure. Mistakes are important in this process, because they show us what we can – or can’t – do with the new item. We need to experiment to completely understand something new.
So maybe a better concern is how to find the place where we can experiment and make mistakes safely and comfortably before using the new word or structure in public.
That’s where friends, teachers and coaches come in! If you’d like to get some feedback on your English, contact me for a free 20-minute consultation. I’ll show you some quick, easy wins that will help you make a great impact in your English.