Four Ways to Improve Confidence When Speaking a Foreign Language

Learning a new language is a scary thing, and it’s easy to feel nervous, especially if you find yourself making mistakes. If you feel like you’re losing confidence as a language learner, check out our top 4 tips for staying confident.

1. Speak Up

When you’re afraid to make mistakes, it’s easy to speak quietly because you don’t want people to hear you. But if people can’t hear you, the meaning will be even more unclear. When you speak a foreign language, try to raise your voice and speak clearly even if you think you’ll make a mistake. People will understand you much better if you speak up.

2. Use L2 Fillers

When native speakers stumble on what to say in English, they say things like ‘umm…’, ‘ahh…’, and ‘err…’ If you’re speaking English as a second language, use these fillers too. If you use fillers from your own language, it will be far more noticeable that you’re not speaking your native language. All languages have their own linguistic fillers, but if you use the fillers of the language you’re trying to speak and don’t break out of that language, it will help you sound much more fluent and help to improve your confidence.

3. Body Language

Appearing confident when speaking a foreign language isn’t all about what you say, it’s also about what you do. Even if you don’t feel confident, you’ll look like you do if you adopt the correct body language. Stand tall, keep your head up, use your hands to gesture, make eye contact, and most importantly… smile.

4. Chill

This is the most important thing to remember – everybody makes mistakes, and they are a vital part of learning a language. If you make a mistake, just take it on the chin and move on. Nobody becomes great at a language instantly – it takes time, hard work, and self-belief. You can do it!


Everybody suffers a lack of confidence from time to time. The important thing is not to let it drag you down – pick yourself up and try again. If you put in the work and believe in yourself, you can reach your goals!

Want more learning tips? See our Language Learning Tips blog. Or go here to find out if there’s a Shane English School near you.

About the Author

Celia Jenkins is a TEFL teacher and freelance writer living in the UK. She spent five years teaching English in China and Japan and now teaches Skype lessons to students around the world. She writes pedagogical articles, travel guides, and stories for children.

Related Posts

How to Learn Useful Phrases

How to Learn Useful PhrasesIn English, there is a large number of fixed phrases and expressions that are sometimes not easy to understand, but they are very useful, even necessary. These phrases are a part of the cultural heritage of a nation, present in the speech of most people in one region and they are often not a part […]


Mental Translation And Why You Shouldn’t Do It

Mental Translation And Why You Shouldn’t Do ItMental Translation is reprocessing words, phrases or sentences from the language you are trying to acquire into your native language. When learning a foreign language such as English, students tend to get into their own heads too much and try and translate every sentence, usually word for word. Do not translate! If you want to […]


4 Things to Remember When Writing an Email

4 Things to Remember When Writing an EmailWriting emails is one of the biggest parts of communication in the business world. They are the easiest way to send updates, keep in contact, and have a record of what has happened. If writing emails is a frequent occurrence for you, then keep checking these four things before pressing send! 1. Clear, short, and […]


Self-Study from Textbooks

Self-Study from TextbooksMost people think textbooks are boring. They can be. Generally, textbooks are only used in classrooms but why not use them for self-study? The best way to use textbooks on your own: For new vocabulary Make a note of new vocabulary words and do the exercises for them. Try to use one or two of […]


How To Increase Confidence When Presenting

How To Increase Confidence When PresentingGiving an oral report or a presentation can be stressful. It’s even more stressful when you need to give it in a language that you aren’t 100% comfortable with. Here are some tips to help you with your formal business English and your confidence when speaking in front of an audience. Know and practice the […]