I’m an introvert.
Every time I need to socialize with new people, I cringe a bit.
In big parties, I mingle for the first few minutes, but pretty soon I find myself sneaking out without leaving traces.
I would always prefer to sit alone at a Cafe
And when I fly, I pray that the person next to me falls asleep for the entire flight.
(I don’t HAVE to go to the bathroom. That’s OK)
Being an introvert,
the mantra “ Go out there and speak as much as possible with people”
Just doesn’t work. We need to do things differently.
In today’s episode, I’m giving you 5 tips that will help you improve your English without going (too much) against your nature.
Hey there, it’s Hadar, and this is the Accent’s Way. And today we are going to talk about English learning for introverts.
Introverts are people who prefer a calm environment, with very low stimulation. They would rather reflect and stay with their own thoughts rather than speak them out in front of a lot of people. They would prefer to stay at home rather than to go out with friends. They would rather be on the side and observe the people rather than being the center of attention.
It’s a personality trait and some people are introverts and some people are extroverts and they feel energized by being around people. A lot of people are actually ambiverts, which is somewhere in the middle.
If you’re an introvert, you know that some English learning methods do not apply to you. Here are a few things that will help you improve your English without feeling like you want to crawl out of your own skin and poke some tiny needles into your eyes.
So first of all, use video and recordings, it’s just you on your own with yourself. No one’s there. You could make a video, look at the video, give yourself some notes and then try it again. Making video is an excellent tool to help you improve your English, and I know that because in my online community that’s how we communicate. And ask anyone there who has been posting videos and see the growth and improvement that they’ve experienced.
So, making videos will make you feel as engaged, almost as engaged as you are in a real conversation. Because it’s not like you’re just talking to yourself in the bathroom. And at the same time, you can actually look at your performance and give yourself points for improvement. So, use more video.
Number two – find the right partners for you. So maybe hopping on on an online platform to talk to random people is not the right thing for you. Maybe going to a party and speaking English is not the right thing for you. But finding a thoughtful, considerate, empathetic, conversation partner with whom you can conduct deep, engaging conversations is the right thing for you.
Because introverts are better alone or one-on-one, when it’s quiet and it’s deep and it’s focused. So, that’s what you should be looking for, okay. So, know what you need and focus there, and you will find what you need, okay. So find the right partner and find just one or two. And don’t just hop on every opportunity to speak with random people because maybe it will make you feel uncomfortable, you’ll find yourself not speaking so much, all right. And then you will feel like you haven’t made any progress. So, I think that that direction would benefit you more.
Understand that your tendency would be to passive English. That means chats, reading and writing, right, concentrating on English. But at the same time, English needs to be active. You need to speak it out loud. So try to avoid chat conversations, understand that this is your comfort zone and really try to change it into a real one-to-one conversation. So that’s one thing.
Now, if you love reading, then at least read out loud. Turn the passive practice into active practice, okay? That’s how you take something that you feel comfortable with into something that will actually get you more results.
Give yourself permission to recharge after a conversation in English. Sometimes speaking with someone else, especially someone who is not a good friend of yours is taxing and demanding, and requires a lot of energy, let alone if it’s done in a second language, in English.
So, be okay with the fact that it is going to be energy-consuming and give yourself time to recharge after. And don’t feel like the problem is only with your English, understand that it’s both you being an introvert and feeling like you want to just curl up and be on your own. And at the same time, also you struggling with expressing yourself in a second language. That is on its own something that is slightly challenging.
So, the two things together will have an effect on you and it has nothing to do with your level of English. You just need to recharge, to take the time for yourself to reflect and then come back with more strength.
Don’t stress out over small talk. If you feel really nervous when you have to make small talk, then first of all, always be the one asking all of the questions. So it will make you feel better because you don’t have to talk about yourself. You will practice your English just by the fact of asking questions and engaging with the other person.
But also what you can do is prepare for it. So create a list of questions and phrases that you may be saying or asking and practice it at home. And then when you go into the conversation, you can retrieve it right away and it will feel safer, like you don’t need to improvise, you have it ready, okay. It’s not a bad thing. It will keep you safe, it will keep you comfortable. And maybe it will allow you to really be engaged in that conversation and God forbid, even enjoy it.
Another thing is that you might need to prepare better than others. Whether it’s for a meeting or a presentation, you have to come super prepared so you always have something to fall back on. Create the bullet points and practice saying it out loud. Get comfortable with how you say things, use video to practice it.
When you’re on your own, you feel safer, right? And when you feel safe and good about what you do, then when it’s time to perform it will be a lot easier for you to do well than without practicing and without having prepared. So, prepare well even for a simple meeting. Don’t think of it as a waste of time, think of it as an opportunity to improve your English.
The last thing is yes, you need to understand your needs, but at the same time don’t hide behind it. So, yes, the fact that you’re an introvert makes you do things slightly differently and choose a different path than what others may be doing. But at the same time, it’s not an excuse for you to say, “Now I don’t feel comfortable speaking with other people, I’m an introvert.” Or, ” I’m not gonna go out of my way to walk up to the coffee machine and talk to my colleagues because I’m an introvert and it makes me feel uncomfortable, and I understand my needs and all of that.”
I mean, acknowledge that, it’s okay. But at the same time, you’ve got to break through and you’ve got to break those walls, and you’ve got to get past that social anxiety. So do all of these things that will help you be better because at the end of the day, you really do need a lot of practice time, a lot of real conversation in order to improve your English.
And it’s like every time you improve your English, then you feel more confident and comfortable speaking with others, right. So it’s a win-win situation once you step out of your comfort zone, understanding that it is against your nature, but it is good for you and you can actually change that. But, you know, after that go and sit with yourself, with your coffee, with your music and recharge. And that’s okay. Okay?
So, understand your limitations, but don’t hide behind them and don’t use them as an excuse to not advancing and not improving and not stepping out of your comfort zone.
Now, if you’re an introvert, let us know in the comments below what are the things that have worked for you as an English learner? What have you been avoiding? And what have you done that helped you succeed in English? I can’t wait to hear your comments and to start a discussion.
Thank you so much for watching. If you want to learn more with me then do not forget to subscribe. Now, if you’re also looking for a safe community to practice your English with and to improve and to get to know people from around the world, then click the link in the description below. It’s the most beautiful community I have ever seen.
And also, come on over to my website to check it out, a lot of free stuff over there just waiting for you to grab it. theaccentsway.com.
Have a beautiful beautiful week, and I will see you next week in the next video. Bye.
One last thing,
As I was working on this episode my partner Gil said to me: ”when it comes to English, we all feel like introverts”
Speaking a foreign language may make you want to hide, avoid large audience and sometimes even avoid situations that will require you to speak English.
While sometimes we allow that impulse to take over,
We need to remember that real breakthroughs happen when we push through it.