We admire it in other people. We want more of it ourselves, myself included.
If you’re like most people I know, you want to feel more confident when speaking.
You probably have a list of things you’ll do once you improve your speaking habits:
- Maybe you’ll apply for a new position in your company.
- You’ll give a presentation at a conference.
- Perhaps you’ll look for a new job.
- Or you’ll try to make more English speaking friends.
I encourage you to take a moment and write down this list of things you’ll do once you improve your speaking. You’ll see why in just a moment.
What Would Help You Feel More Confident When Speaking English?
Last year I asked the members of this community, what would help you feel more confident when speaking English?
If you’re curious, here’s what people said:
- I feel confident when I can express how I feel.
- I feel confident when people get my message clearly.
- I would feel more confident if I didn’t hesitate when speaking.
- I would feel more confident if I didn’t worry about my accent.
- I would feel more confident if I could reduce the number of times that people asked me to repeat myself. I just want to be understood.
- I’d feel more confident if I didn’t freeze in the middle of a conversation.
- I’d feel more confident if I didn’t make mistakes.
- I’d feel more confident if I could think in English.
What is so interesting about these responses is that most people mentioned that they’d feel confident AFTER achieving a certain goal.
“Once this happens, then I’ll feel confident.”
This conversation has continued to linger in the back of my mind for the past year.
What Is Confidence Anyway?
The truth is, confidence seems like such a vague concept.
We know when we don’t have it, and we can recognize it in other people.
But how do you even get it?
A few weeks ago, I got my answer from a Mel Robbins video called “The lie we’ve all bought into about confidence.”
In this clip, a woman admits to Mel Robbins that she’s always been very scared and felt a lack of confidence.
When Mel asks the audience if they can relate, of course everyone raises their hand!
She explains that we think that confidence is a belief in ourselves, but that’s a lie.
According to Mel:
“Confidence is the willingness to try.
Because when you try, and you take action, [you see yourself] being the kind of person that takes action.
[T]hat action is what builds confidence. It doesn’t start with belief.
The real way, the real way for most of us, is not to wait to believe, but to push ourselves to act, and through the action you will build the belief.”
When I heard that, a light bulb went off for me.
Confidence comes from taking action.
You Need to Take Action to Become More Confident When Speaking
You become more confident because you take action, not before you take action.
If you wait for this confidence to appear before taking action, you may never actually start moving towards your goals.
Let’s apply this to some of the comments I mentioned a few moments ago.
You say you’ll feel more confident speaking up when you aren’t hesitating, but to stop hesitating, stop freezing and start thinking in English, you have to take action.
You have to start speaking more in order to get those ideas to flow more easily.
You say you’ll feel more confident when people stop asking you to repeat yourself, but in order to be more easily understood, you have to take action.
You have to work on the speaking habits that are necessary for clear communication.
You say you’ll feel more confident when you don’t make mistakes, but the only way to stop making mistakes and stop worrying about your accent is to take action.
When you speak more, you either become more comfortable making mistakes, or the mistakes become less frequent through more consistent practice.
You either stop caring about your accent, or your accent improves.
Commit to Taking Action Towards Your Goals Every Day
You become more confident when you take steps towards your goal.
When you commit to taking action every single day, you start building momentum, and that momentum keeps you going.
And as we’ve discussed today, taking action helps you feel more confident. It helps you believe in yourself.
For more guidance on the topics we mentioned in this video, be sure to check out these videos:
- How to Recover and Keep Going After Making Mistakes
- Start Thinking in English: Practical Exercises to Access Your Vocabulary
- Improve Your Pronunciation for Clear Communication in English
- Five Reasons Why Native Speakers Don’t Understand You
(Don’t forget to watch Mel’s video for extra motivation!)
Keep in mind that all of the suggestions I give you are just information unless you put them into practice.
What action can you take today to move one step closer towards your goal?
And tomorrow? And the day after that?
Remember, it doesn’t matter what action you take, as long as you do something.