How have your last two weeks been? Mine have been spent studying and learning as, contrary to my initial belief, the ability to serve your target audience in the most appropriate way through the use of social media is a science in itself! But this is not what this blog is about.
As I interact more with my followers on business language matters one theme is strongly emerging in relation to their spoken English: the fear of making mistakes and the potential of sounding stupid.
"been there, done that"! When I first arrived in the UK my written English was next to impeccable, my vocabulary good and my listening skills on a 1:1 basis in a classroom situation absolutely fine. Asking for something I needed was another matter altogether though! The fear was paralysing but I soon realised that it was more of a problem with my mindset, not my language skills as such.
So, what advice can I give to those who have been studying English for years, memorised all grammar rules imaginable and gone through every exercise in the book but STILL cannot bring themselves to speak to anyone?
Firstly, don't let your fear get in the way. Language is a communication tool, fear a defence mechanism, which, in this case is not protecting you from anything that can hurt you! I decided to follow the advice of S. Jeffers - Feel the fear and do it anyway. Amazingly, as I put myself in more perceived "danger" I became more confident and I even learnt more English on the way.
Secondly, learning a language is a lifelong journey, embrace it! Even if someone is rude to you remember that the problem is theirs and not yours... and they might be having a bad day regardless so be forgiving.
Thirdly, stay focused on your objectives. If you want a new job but you are not applying because your English might not be good enough, just apply. I got my first temp job in the UK after three months of being there, I could not understand a thing but that led to a permanent contract and the start of my career abroad.
Still fearful? Talk to someone you trust and that has had the same experience as you. If I could do it you can certainly do it too.
Un po' di aiuto - keywords
contrary to my initial belief: diversamente da ciò che credevo/mi ero immaginata
"been there, done that": espressione idiomatica frequentissima, abbreviata da "I have been there, I have done that, I got the video and the t-shirt" Significa semplicemente che è capitato anche a me, che ho avuto la stessa esperienza.
was another matter altogether, though!: fu una questione ben diversa, però!
cannot bring themselves: non riuscire/riescono a mettersi nella condizione di
don't let your fear get in the way: non lasciare che la paura ti fermi
defence mechanism: meccanismo di difesa
having a bad day regardless: possono star avendo una pessima giornata indipendentemente dal tuo intervento/tentativo di comunicare.
temp job: lavoro interinale. Getting a "temping job/temp job" è un'espressione frequente per indicare che si cerca un lavoro poco impegnativo per guadagnarsi qualcosa.