One sure way to improve your confidence in English

Does your English have to be perfect?

It’s fashionable nowadays to claim that your English doesn’t have to be perfect. There are tons of online blogs and posts on LinkedIn and elsewhere telling you that if your English isn’t that great, don’t worry about it. I’ve actually covered this issue in a previous blog But I’m mentioning it again because in recent sessions with international professionals, I’ve had to do a lot of grammar correcting.

But not only that – I’ve noticed that these professionals have one issue in common that they’re all trying to address: how to improve their confidence overall. And once we dig down into the reasons behind the lack of confidence, there are two common issues that always come up.

Lack of confidence

First, they’re not sure if their ideas make sense or not. In other words they have some doubt about whether what they’re saying is 100% airtight. They’re worried they’ll look foolish and embarrass the team. If this is you, take a look at this blog: (It’s got some strategies you can use to deal with this problem.)

The next most common complaint is that these professionals often are unsure about their grammar. Which verb tense should they use? Which preposition is correct? What’s the right idiomatic phrase in this situation? For everyone, it’s a slightly different issue and generally depends on what the mother tongue is. But in general, this basic uncertainty behind English usage creates some self-doubt that impacts overall effectiveness and presence.

Knowledge is power

So what I’m saying is stop believing these blogs and posts telling you your English doesn’t have to be perfect. Ok it doesn’t have to be perfect (and probably never will be anyway). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on it, and the verb tenses in particular.

Especially if your native language is an Asian language, the English verb tense system is something you should spend a lot of time with. Because it’s VERY different from what you’re used to. And it’s not easy. But learning to master it will give you the confidence you currently lack. And you will also sound better when you speak. And the ideas you express will be clearer and more precise. And that will give you business value you can leverage throughout your career.

So learn how to use the English verb tense properly. Study the perfect verbs. Present perfect is not the same as simple past. There are good reasons why the language has two ways of dealing with past tense. And keep in mind that English teachers in other countries who speak English as a second language often don’t know how to use these tenses correctly. It’s possible (in fact likely) that you did not learn the perfect tenses properly. So it’s not your fault – but it will enhance your business communication if you learn the nuances and subtleties of English.


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