Don’t want to miss any tips and tricks for English?
Have you ever had to repeat something you said in English? Because the other person didn’t understand you?
In order to become fluent, you need to know vocabulary and grammar, but you also need to have confidence!
You could know all the complex grammar rules and memorize the most advanced vocabulary, but if you don’t have the confidence to speak and make sure others can understand you, then your English communication skills won’t improve.
I think a lot of English learners feel bad when a listener can’t understand them.
But this can happen to anyone and everyone! And it can happen in your native, second or third language.
Don’t Be Shy: Say it Twice!
I am a native English speaker, but sometimes when I speak, the other person asks me to repeat myself because they didn’t hear me clearly or maybe I made a mistake. That doesn’t mean that I don’t know English, or that I am a complete failure at communicating. It just means I get another chance to express myself, perhaps in a better way than the first time.
I want all English learners to think the same way. When your listener asks you to repeat what you said, don’t take it as sign that your English is so terrible, and you should never try speaking again.
Real conversation in any language involves stops and starts, confusion and misunderstanding, and mistakes and repetition, so it’s okay if it happens to you. In fact, it means you’re having a normal English conversation!
The Power of Repetition
Having to repeat yourself is also an opportunity to improve your communication skills.
By paying attention to your listener – their words, body language, tone – you might be able to figure out what they didn’t understand. Or, just ask them. And then, when you try to express yourself again, make the changes to ensure your listener gets your meaning the second time.
If you can do that, congratulations! Those are real communication skills at work because you have now changed your message to suit your audience.
You’ve adapted to their needs, and once you can learn to do that more often, your fluency will improve – not just because you’re using the correct vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, but because you’re choosing the right vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation for your specific listener.
Here’s An Example
The other day, I was talking to a friend, and I made a joke about something I didn’t like.
I said, “Isn’t that great?” I was being sarcastic, which means I meant the opposite of what I said: I didn’t think it was great at all. However, for whatever reason, my friend didn’t catch my sarcastic tone, and they thought I was serious.
That made me realize I needed to make my tone more obvious, so I made sure to look them in the eye and look very unimpressed when I said “Isn’t that great?” again. Then they got the joke and laughed.
See? It works! I changed my message to suit my audience, and probably when I’m sarcastic in the future, I’ll remember to use the cues I added the second time so that my communication is clearer.
So the next time someone ask you to repeat yourself, don’t feel bad.
Take it as invitation to become a better speaker and listener.
How else can you improve your communication skills?
In my online lessons, you can learn and practice ways of repeating yourself so others understand you as well as sarcasm.
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