Improve Your English with These FOUR Actionable Strategies

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If you feel like you've plateaued and are not seeing progress with your English, you might not be trying hard enough. Learn the four clues you need to try harder with your English skills! These strategies will help you improve your English speaking skills.

We know that in order to improve ourselves we need to feel some discomfort. This is true for most things in life. In this context, we’re discussing how to improve in the English language. If you feel like your progress has plateaued and you’re not feeling or seeing positive changes, then you might not be pushing yourself enough or taking enough risks with the language. 

In this lesson, I’m sharing some clues that you might not be trying hard enough in English and what to do about it so that you can actually push yourself and grow.

Let’s get into it!

Ok great, we’re going to cover four points, and it’s possible that only one or two of these apply to you. If you feel like all four apply to you, that’s ok too! These are clues to be aware of so that you can address them as soon as possible, without them turning into blockers in development.

(1) You don’t make any mistakes

This means you’re not taking enough risks with the language. You’re not pushing the boundaries of what’s comfortable in English. It also could mean that you’re not testing out new vocabulary or phrases. Keep in mind that Native English Speakers make mistakes. We might say one thing but then realize that there’s a better way to say that, so we’ll rephrase or we might express it differently. When we notice a mistake and repair it, that’s called “self initiated self repair” (SISR) and Native Speakers do this a lot in natural conversation. So pay attention to your own communication. If there is no self initiated self repair when you speak, you might want to go beyond your comfort zone and push yourself a little bit so that you do make mistakes. Making mistakes and then correcting yourself is a good benchmark for this. Making mistakes and then asking for feedback on your language use, is also a good benchmark for this.

(2) You don’t feel like an Imposter

This means that you don’t experience imposter syndrome when speaking in English. Typically whenever we feel like we’re punching above our weight class, meaning we’re performing outside of our comfort zones, we feel a little bit like an imposter. This is true also when we’re in a new role or pushing ourselves beyond our limits. So if you feel like an imposter, even though there is discomfort, it means that we’re taking risks and we’re challenging ourselves. Remember that when we challenge ourselves, we grow. The same concept applies to other areas of life. When we’re at the gym for example, if we want to get stronger, we need to lift heavier weights. Same with language and communication skills. We need to feel that discomfort to grow.

(3) You feel like you know enough

This is one of the saddest perspectives, in my opinion because we can never know enough. There is always something to learn. There’s always something we can improve. The moment we feel like we know enough is the moment we decided to stop learning and by association, stop growing. So we absolutely don’t want to be in that place of complacency, meaning, we’re happy with what we know and have no desire to know more. The minute we stop learning we stop growing. Be sure to keep learning. Learn new words, learn new phrases, learn more about the professional fields you’re in, learn more about how you can be better at your hobbies. And what’s great is if you’re learning something for work, say you’re reading a professional development book, you can do this in English. So you accomplish two things here: you work on your language skills while also learning specific skills that you’ll apply to your job! Be as strategic as you’d like with this and most importantly have fun with the process! Remember, we spend the most time on the journey, not at the destination. So have fun on the journey because that’s where you’ll be most of the time.

(4) You always have confidence when speaking English

This one’s interesting because a lot of you might think that to be fluent in English you need to be confident. And this is why a lot of people ask me how to improve their confidence in English. Well I’ll let you in on a little secret: if you’re confident 100% of the time, you’re not trying hard enough. You’re not pushing yourself hard enough and giving yourself opportunities for growth and development. So while it is beneficial to feel confident most of the time so that we can perform our best, feeling confident 100% is counterproductive because it’s preventing us from taking risks and challenging ourselves. This is why when you are in a situation where you’re speaking English and you feel like you have some butterflies in your stomach, embrace that feeling. Use that nervous energy to boost your performance. I can’t tell you how many times I've had to perform in person or in virtual settings and I was a little bit nervous. I performed so much better than those times I was extremely confident. So nervous energy is a blessing in disguise and being 100% confident 100% of the time doesn’t always help you achieve your goals. If you’re aware of this, you’ll start leveraging the feeling of nerves mixed with a little bit of confidence to give you that boost you need to perform well. Treat those feelings as information, don’t let it scare you, use it to guide you. If you’re too confident, you’re not pushing yourself beyond your limits and if you’re not confident at all then you need to remind yourself that you can rise to the challenge. The best combination of feelings in a situation where we’re in the spotlight (like when you are speaking English) is when you’re a little bit nervous but also relatively confident and you channel that nervous energy into performance energy!


Alright, so there you have it. These are four signs that you might not be pushing yourself enough in English and what you can do about it.

So in order to grow and make more improvements with language and communication skills, consider the following: (1) make mistakes (2) feel like an imposter (3) stay hungry for knowledge and always be learning and (4) have some confidence and some nervousness when communicating in English.

No one expects you to speak perfectly. Not even Native English Speakers speak perfectly. Focus instead on adding value, articulating your ideas, and sharing knowledge with others. Make it a point to communicate as best you can and you’re on your way to continually growing.


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