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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

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An average person ranks the fear of public speaking higher than the fear of death. The truth is, this fear could be hurting your professional and personal life. Unless you’re a gregarious extrovert, you feel nervous, your palms sweat, and your stomach ties itself into knots before speaking to a group or getting up in front of the audience.

The fear of public speaking is very real. However, there are techniques to help you overcome your fear. There are even ways to help harness your energy in a positive way.

Get Organized

When you organize all of your thoughts and material it helps you to become much more relaxed and calm. When you have clear, organized thoughts it can greatly reduce your speaking anxiety because you can better focus on the one thing at hand, giving a great speech.

Practice, Practice & Practice

Nothing takes the place of practicing and preparing for your speech. Write out a script of your key points, but don’t read from the script word for word. Prepare for your speech so well that you could answer any possible question thrown at you.

Give your Speech to another Person

There are plenty of people you can practice on. Be sure to tell the person to be completely honest with you in their critique.

Examples of people you can practice on:

  • Your friends
  • Your parents
  • Your girlfriend/wife
  • Your boyfriend/husband

PowerPoint- Make or break

Sometimes, having a PowerPoint can be your best friend. It can help you if you lose your train of thought, keep your audience engaged, and give people a good place to grab notes and main points from. However, do not put paragraphs on one slide.

Focus on the material, not the audience

Focus on delivering your material in the best way possible. Don’t worry about audience reactions.

Keep a check on the Rate of Speech

Talking fast during a speech interferes with your breathing patterns. If you talk too fast you will breathe less. Feeling short of breath will make you panicked and more susceptible to fear. Practice slowing down when you speak, and you will be more calm and relaxed.

Practice in Front of a Mirror

If time and money are issues, there’s always the free mirror in your bathroom. Start with simply smiling at yourself. You’d be surprised by how hard that is for some people. Make eye contact with yourself. See? You’re doing great.

Watch for Feedback and Adapt to It

Keep the focus on the audience. Gauge their reactions, adjust your message, and stay flexible. Delivering a canned speech will guarantee that you lose the attention of or confuse even the most devoted listeners.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter. 

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How to Improve English at Home

blog_post_2_wlEnglish language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time. Without second thoughts, we all know this is one of the most proficient and prominently used languages across the globe. With the growing trend of learning this language and the increasing number of English learning institutes, the most frequent question popping up in every learner’s head is ‘How to learn it ?’ Learning a non-native language takes a lot of practice and subsequently involves all aspects of it, right from listening and reading to writing and speaking.

One very prominent way to start fun learning of this language is to do it right in the comfort of your own home. Our own home is a peaceful place where we can learn the way we want to.

Reading out loud is one of the common ways to improve and understand how you sound to the listener. Reading silently can help train your mind in the English language. However, reading out loud will train your tongue to speak English properly. You can pick any book, poem or short story you want and start reading the words out loud.

There are other fun ways to learn and broaden the vocabulary range. Like, to play games that require you to read or speak in English. A good example is monopoly. Easiest and most likely is to chat with friends online. What better way to learn to speak in English than learning with friends? Instead of chatting with them through your keyboard, why not just do a voice or video call instead? This way, you can practice speaking in English in a conversational way and it eventually eradicates fumbling in our speech. This will be good practice for both the callers.

Another way is to record your voice yourself. This doesn’t need the involvement of another person and can be executed anytime you’re free. Recording yourself will help you know your pronunciation mistakes. To record yourself, you can use your smartphone, tablet or even your laptop. Simply start by finding a piece that you’d like to read, and then open up your device’s Audio Recorder and start recording yourself. Now, recording your own voice is just the first step. The more important step is to check if you’ve pronounced the words correctly. For this you may even take the help of different apps available online.

Listening is the foremost step towards learning any language. This way you improve your comprehension skills and also gauge other factors of spoken English like intonation and accent. Listening to your favorite soap operas, reality shows improvises your understanding in this language. You may start with listening to native speakers and understand their accent, intonation and rate of speech. Rate of speech is the number of words spoken per minute and the ideal ROS should be 120 words per minute. Not only listening and understanding will help the individual in the long run but also implementing the learning is of vital importance.

Any words we come across should not only be restricted to our walls of mind but need to be spoken and used frequently to make it a part of our vocabulary. Learning to speak with the correct Intonation, voice modulation and the right rate of speech comes requires a lot of practice and patience. Establishing a routine for your English time at home is better. We can use everyday situations and real objects from around the house to practice the language naturally and in context. For example: learning food vocabulary while cooking. Nonetheless, one has to be strong willed and quite passionate to learn English at home. It has to be intense and compassionate learning which later will yield the desired outcome.

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English Speaking at Workplace    

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Two international corporations active in India, Thomson Reuters and Unisys have invested in Business English and have seen significant results in their employees’ skill sets, career development and communication abilities. A study identified an increase in English language proficiency across the country within the past two decades, from only 11% in 1991 to approximately 20% by 2005.

A person can make rapid strides in his career if besides the mandatory skills that are required, he also can speak English fluently and effectively. If you do not possess this most sought after skill set, it is considered as a serious handicap for any aspiring professional. Due to globalization, using English at workplace has many benefits, like the success of the organization you are working with, building and improving relationships at work, enhancing and developing your own skill set etc. It’s considered to be a huge asset to be able to speak good English, especially if you are associated with a Multi-National Company.

Most of the companies believe that better English improves the productivity of employees. Proficient English language skills can give you more opportunities to expand your career prospects. This language is essential if you want to get ahead in today’s fast-paced global economy, whether you are looking to secure your ideal job, or to be more productive at work, or simply to increase your chances of promotion.

Companies need a language strategy, especially if they have global aspirations. Companies are finding it easy to adapt English as a common language of business. Good English allows one to communicate effectively with international clients, helping them to trust the company that results in strong and lasting business relationships. Multinational companies need to interact with clients and business partners across the globe, and those who ignore the need for a language strategy limit their growth.

People who regularly use English at workplace, use it for various purposes like meetings, negotiations, report writing, presentations, training, sending e-mails, making sales calls, social gatherings etc.

It is estimated that over 50% of the pages on the internet are written in English which means that more online information is available to people who can read English. Having access to so much more information can make a real difference to your professional life, even if you don’t work with colleagues or clients who speak English. You may find that information from a website written in English may help you to understand a project better or provide some useful information for a report.

It’s said, ‘Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we think about.’

There are many benefits for proficient employees as well. As employees become more fluent in the language, they develop confidence and feel more secure at a time when jobs come and go. Being proficient in English could open doors for them; they can take on more and more roles that require English speaking ability. Career advancement and a fatter pay cheque are among the many benefits. English communication is of paramount importance in today’s globalized workplace.

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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English Speaking in Social Gatherings

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Anyone using English in social gatherings should refrain from an academic approach and strive to give it a living interest by keeping the attention of others on English as it is spoken today. The idea here is to communicate so avoid using jargons and difficult words.

Communication, a word of Latin origin, means sharing. In a social gathering, people interact with each other either to exchange pleasantries, share some information or good/bad experiences. We all know that the most common medium of communication is English language, especially in the gatherings where you get to interact with the upper middle or high class. Even the middle class doesn’t seem to remain unaffected by this trend.

Conversation in social gatherings should be highly confident yet speech should be highly courteous. The gestures used while conversing in English is a reflection of one’s involvement in the interaction. A few examples can be-smile, nod, wave our hands, etc. These non-linguistic symbols keep the attention of the other person on what we say.

In any social gathering, communication involves two parties who interact on a common topic.  Without a common background or interest there can be no effective communication. Here comes the most important factor to remember which is to be cooperative and be a patient listener while communicating. If we speak to someone in a social place without paying heed to the other person’s interest, then there is a possibility that he/she will get totally lost  in his own thoughts and in no time communication will stop.

English has developed as a common medium of communication in social functions also. Hence it is the right strategy to keep ourselves updated with the recent developments and changes in English language. English language used in a social circle can differ a lot from business communication. We need to be sensitive about using suitable gestures while addressing different people who might speak distinctly.

It is very important to respond appropriately when a sender transmits a message. The response should be immediate and favourable. This is important because the person in front of us will naturally be interested in knowing how his message has been received. Immediate feedback is possible very easily in a face to face interaction. An advantage of such communication is the adjustment of the length of communication. Knowledge and usage of correct English can reveal the inner strength, upbringing, nature and much more about a person’s personality.

English language has virtues which are unparalleled because greeting, thanking, apology, respect, farewell, etc. can be expressed very beautifully in English phrases. Correct English is always appreciated in social gatherings by the ones who are well versed in the usage of the language. In many cases the message may fail to receive the desired response because of a semantic gap between the people interacting. This failure occurs because the sender may not be clear about what is to be conveyed and may use inappropriate English to convey his ideas. It may also happen if the listener is not able to understand and interpret the meaning of the conversation. Therefore it is important to acquire and apply correct skills of English language in social gatherings.

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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English – Foundation for Young Kids’ Future

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English is one of the most important languages in the world because it is the only language that truly links the whole world together. English bridges the gap and connects multi-cultural and multi-linguistic people. The presence of English as a universal language assumes importance in the fact that more and more people leave their countries not only for the sake of business and pleasure but also for studying. So, education has increased the role of English.

Being confident in English can give a child an early advantage at school, helping him make the most of his education, qualification and career opportunities that lie ahead. Therefore, English plays a significant role in shaping a child’s career. Young children pick up languages more easily because their brains are programmed to learn their mother tongue which also facilitates learning another language. At a young age, children are enthusiastic and curious to explore and learn new things. We cannot underestimate the role of English as a medium for education.

Whether your child is at primary level or at post graduate level, English as the medium of learning cannot be neglected. Your child will be able to excel in his or her studies if he or she has a good command over English.

Internet, which has come up as an advanced tool of imparting education is confined more to English which emphasizes the importance of the language again. A kid who aspires for a bright future, dreams of a high profile job, needs to have a strong foundation in English. One can prove one’s capabilities only through language and the potential to use English efficiently is in fact necessary for effective communication. Although, internet facilitates every forum in many languages, still English is the universal language and there are many sites which are only accessible in English and no translations are available. Books, which are another medium of teaching and learning, are mainly published in English. Sometimes, the translated version misses out on conveying the real message. This ultimately proves that English has become a inseparable part of our lives.

India is a land of competition. There are millions of candidates who possess similar qualifications but may not have effective communication skills in English which is almost mandatory to carve a niche for themselves in this cut throat competitive world. So we should ensure that the kids get ample opportunities to polish their communication skills.

Having good command over English opens up various avenues including the opportunity to work overseas. The future of your child with a strong foundation in English will definitely be bright because of the additional confidence it infuses in him/her.

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