English is not my mother tongue though I am confident that my accent being a Filipino is way better than the others. Yes, I can write better, too. Not perfect but good enough to understand and not give you a headache.
My consciousness in English became stronger the day I met my husband. He’s an Indian but not a typical one. In terms of “speaking“, he corrects me frequently. You know how typical Filipinos pronounce words ending in “BLE” i.e. table.
Also, I was exposed to English speaking (British and Canadian) bosses with my first job. So imagine the stress I had gone through at first, not to forget the different terms used? But that actually helped me a lot in building confidence on how to speak in English fluently.
Then, I had the opportunity to work abroad where English is also used daily, 8 hours a day. In my case, it was more, living with my husband. It also happened that my former boss, who is a Kuwaiti but studied and frequented the United States, and a Superior who is a Pakistani raised in Canada, added a challenge.
Moving back home 4 years ago did not give me a break from speaking in English. I engaged myself for a year working as a Virtual Assistant, and from time to time did telemarketing tasks.
When I decided to go back to the corporate world, it added more challenges. Reporting to the President who is an Israeli/Dutch but good in English and working with different nationals virtually made my way to develop and add more confidence to what I have already built over the years.
Some good tips that I still remember were:
- Don’t feel shy to speak up. Never get too conscious with how you pronounce words. Eventually, you will get the proper diction and pronunciation. Practice makes perfect, some would say. But for me, getting used to it is the right term.
- Observe how others say the words, but do not try hardest and be like a copy cat because you might overdo it, and worst it may sound funnier.
- Whenever you have time alone, read loudly. Loudly. Literally. And see how it goes day by day. This also applies when you are writing a composition, may it be a proposal/business letter or a blogpost. If you are not sure of your grammar, read loudly and for sure you will make out if something is wrong.
Sounds easy right? Trust me, it’s easier if you apply it.