In today’s video I talk about how perfectionism can cause your mind to go blank when you’re speaking English. You will see me recording the video outside in a public space, which is outside of my comfort zone. I will also give you some tips for overcoming your perfectionism when speaking.
Being outside of one’s comfort zone when speaking is stressful, which can result in the mind going blank (you can see this happen to me in the video). In the video, you will see this happen to me when I am speaking my native language. However, this same problem is more likely to happen to you when you are speaking a foreign language (I have observed it happen to my students many times).
When the mind goes blank it brings with it a very uncomfortable and embarrassed feeling which we want to avoid. For this reason, many people who experience this problem when speaking avoid opportunities to practise their English. This is the wrong approach because the problem cannot be solved by simply learning more English.
Tips for Dealing with Perfectionism When Speaking
- Only push your comfort zone in gentle ways that you can cope with.
- Relax your body before entering the stressful situation (exercising is good for this).
- When a mind blank happens, you can’t think your way out of it. Just wait till it passes.
- Prioritise speaking skills practice (do lots of repeat-after-me practice)
- When you ‘unfreeze’ carry on where you stopped. Never go back to the beginning.
- Try not to observe your own speech for mistakes / flaws / correctness when in conversations with others.
- Improve your English speaking skills in a supportive environment. If you feel uncomfortable or anxious in your English class, the teacher or method of teaching probably isn’t right for you.
Extend Your Learning
◼️ Watch my video on Feeling Uncomfortable When Speaking English and How to Solve It
◼️ Learn about How Introverts learn English differently to Extroverts
◼️ Read Jade Joddle’s Speech story about how she overcame her difficulties with speech.