Not everyone is going to like this episode.
I know that.
In particular, educators and institutions that base their revenue model on getting their students to consume and buy as much content as possible, and invest more.
More videos, more practice time, more products, more ‘like a native speaker’. (Oh, how I HATE the term “like a native speaker”)
You see, I don’t think that more is better.
More is overwhelming, more is excessive, more is defeating.
More is the reason you quit.
I want you to succeed. I want you to see change in your life.
I want you to get new opportunities in the coming year.
I want you to see it IS possible.
Today I’m sharing with you my winning strategy to becoming fluent. This strategy is based on focused learning, effective practice and developing the right mindset.
If you’re fed up with getting stuck in English, of not being able to fully express yourself or constantly feeling judged and self-conscious when you speak English, this video is for you! Becoming fluent is not something that just happens to you. “Okay, I’ll just listen to podcasts and watch movies without subtitles and read lots of books and speak a little bit at work and then I’ll be fluent!”
No, that doesn’t happen that way.
It’s like planning a project at work or deciding to renovate your house, right? You’re not just stumbling upon furniture or people asking them, “Hey, do you mind breaking this wall in my apartment because I need to renovate it.”
And then you break a wall. Then you’re like, “Oh no! That was not a good idea! Maybe I need to put back the wall and then break another wall.” Then you go ahead and break that wall and then you go above your budget and the house is a mess right and you have no idea what to do. Well it’s sort of the same thing but different. If your goal is to become fluent, you have to make it a project of yours. You have to plan it.
You have to see what’s working for you and what’s not working for you. You have to focus your attention and to do only the things that get you results. You’ve got to stop wasting time with the wrong teachers. You got to stop wasting times watching all these videos without really doing something about it.
You have to stop wasting time doing things that don’t advance you, but to do that you have to know what you need and the only person that can help you with that is you.
Today, I’m gonna teach you the three steps that will help you develop your fluency strategy to understand what to learn and how to learn it, how to practice effectively and how to boost your confidence by changing your mindset and owning that fluent mindset that will help you kick ass when you speak English.
The way I see it, fluency has three pillars. The first pillar is ‘knowledge’ – knowledge of words, knowledge of grammar, knowledge of pronunciation, right? Knowing how to use certain expressions, and what words to use when, and how to structure the a sentence. So this is knowledge. The second pillar is ‘practice’, which is taking all the knowledge that you have and turning it into spoken English.
This is usually the biggest struggle. Most people are having an easier time reading and writing and listening to English, but when they have to speak, that’s the main challenge. Retrieving the right words, knowing how to structure it fast and fluently, and of course, being able to pronounce it and to sound clear when speaking so you actually communicate your message. The last pillar is ‘confidence’.
It’s great to know all those things you know you can learn for hours on end and you can practice with your teachers and with your friends, but if you don’t have the confidence to speak up when you’re needed, when you’re asked a question, when you have something to say in a meeting or in front of people or just in the store. If you avoid conversations like you avoid fire then you need to boost your confidence. Now confidence is one of the pillars but it’s also the result of the first two because when you learn more and when you practice more, of course, it improves your confidence and these three elements are essential if you want to become fluent in any language. Now that we know these three elements we need to understand how to improve in each and every element here. When it comes to learning English, I feel very lucky.
I think that we all are. We live at a time that there is so much information out there. There are so many learning resources, high-quality top resources. They can just reach your hand and grab them for free.
The downside of it is that you don’t know what to focus on because if you go and try to learn everything that is out there because you’re passionate and motivated. The result is that it can be overwhelming, a waste of time, and sometimes redundant. Let me give you an example.
If you still struggle with a past simple tense or present simple, do not go and learn the perfect tenses. Master the basic and most used tenses before you move on to more advanced tenses.
Phrasal verbs are very important, but if you still don’t know when to use ‘on’, ‘in’ and ‘at’ when you’re talking about time and space, do not go and learn all the phrasal verbs out there in the world. Focus first on the things that get you stuck because you use them daily, okay? Understand what are your needs and focus just on that when it comes to pronunciation. Do not go and learn all the different nuances of the American T and all the extra sounds added when you’re connecting words, if your R’s and L’s are still getting confused, okay?
I’m not saying it’s not important, it’s not important right now. You need to focus on the things that will get you the best results and those things are the most apparent things, the things that you probably want to deal with the least because you’re so tired of it or and bored with it. But, these are the most important elements that keep getting you stuck.
And when it comes to vocabulary, don’t waste your time learning words that you don’t know. Focus on using words that you know but never use, that you understand when other people speak, that you use in reading and writing but you never use in speaking. That will get you results.
Learning new words and memorizing them and never using them along with the other 1,500 words that you already know and never use, will not get you results.
When you’re planning your learning road map trying to understand what are the topics that you need to focus on, you have to laser focus on the things, the critical pieces, that are missing when you’re speaking English. The critical pieces that still hold you back when you speak English. Do not go, although it’s tempting, do not go and learn everything that is out there. That’s just procrastinating. That’s just not dealing with what’s important for you and believe me I know. I know it’s the most boring stuff. It’s the stuff that you know but it’s just not a part of you, so you know that you need to do it but it’s just, it’s not there yet and then you’re like pushing it to the corner.
No. Open that box and drill down and master it and then you will see how everything is so much, so much easier. When it comes to practicing English. Remember that it’s always quality over quantity. You do not need to study every day for two hours. You do not need to move to an English-speaking country in order to immerse yourself and really improve. No, you can do it from a non-English speaking country also and you can become fluent and you can master the language and I know it because I’ve seen it happen. Swear to God.
I’ve seen my students and my community members take huge leaps in their English and their ability to communicate just by practicing effectively. What is to practice effectively? First of all, to plan it out, to learn only the things that you need to learn. You need to be aware of what you’re doing. Maybe you need to record yourself.
Maybe you need to videotape yourself listening to it giving yourself feedback, looking in the mirror to make sure that you’re opening your mouth or rounding your lips as you’re speaking. All of these things turn your practice into a conscious active exercise from which you can learn and improve. Remember that. The small changes make all the difference, and of course speak as much as possible. Speak to yourself in the car.
Speak to a friend. You don’t have to have native speakers around you to be able to speak and to practice. You don’t need that constant feedback. Understand that just speaking, looking for the words trying to understand how to say it, even if it’s when speaking to non-native speakers, it’s a great way to improve. In fact, I find that non-native speakers have a much easier time to practice with fellow non-native speakers. They feel less judged.
They feel a lot more freedom because they know they’re both in the same boat and this is why I started our online community and if you’re not a member, please click the link below and join us because it’s a safe space for people to discuss meaningful things in English, because you don’t have to constantly practice English to practice English. You just need to speak. And when you speak about meaningful things and when you really connect with other people from around the world, it makes everything so much better, and to be honest, is the most empowering and safest space I’ve ever seen online.
So click on the link and join us! Lastly, let’s talk about confidence. You know that voice in your head that tells you, ‘Oh, you made a mistake. Oh, you’re not gonna be able to say it.
Oh, you’re not gonna know how to finish the sentence why even bother starting? You sound funny. They’re gonna think you’re stupid!’ Do you know that? Do you know that voice? You know these voices.
It’s not just in your head. I just want you to know that it’s in everyone’s heads and even in my head because, what do you think when I’m speaking to you right now in front of the camera, there isn’t this Vicious Hadar sitting up here and they’re like, ‘You didn’t sound good here.
You made a grammar mistake. That’s the best you can do??’ It’s here all the time. The question is how much space I’m willing to give this person sitting right here. Usually I tell her to take the back seat because I’m right here making videos for you guys and that’s more important than making a pronunciation mistake or grammar mistake.
When you’re communicating with other people, you give others the opportunity to get to know you, to learn from you, to understand something about themselves or about you or about the world, even if it’s simple things.
When you’re holding yourself back because of mean voices, you are denying yourself the opportunity to be you, even if it’s in the second language. You have to remember that and there are a few things that you need to keep reminding yourself that will completely change your mindset and those things are: being perfect is overrated. I hate nothing more than hearing the term ‘speak like a native speaker’ because when you set the bar so high, the gap is so wide that you’ll feel that you’ll never be able to reach there. If this is your goal then this becomes impossible.
You don’t need to sound like a native speaker, sound like yourself, but your most fluent, expressive and confident self. That’s your goal. Don’t try to achieve something that will hold you back, try to achieve something that will empower you. Really trust me on that. I know. I know that it’s hard to change that mindset because you’ve been told for years that the only way to become fluent is to sound like a native speaker, but understand that being a native speaker is something that happens if you’re born into the language and if you’re not born into the language, you can become very fluent in the language and you can master it and you can master the accent. I know that and again I’ve done it myself but I know the the journey is long and it takes a lot of hard work and sometimes the goals should be expressing yourself, being fluent, finding the words, sounding clear even if it’s not like a native speaker, even if people still ask you where you’re from, okay?
The thing is that you need to be okay with that. You need to understand that what you bring to the table as a non-native speaker is your gift, is your advantage, okay? Don’t try to hide it. Don’t try to wash out your identity. Become clear, have a powerful voice, say what you have to say. Doesn’t matter if it’s with an accent and it doesn’t matter if it’s with mistakes. Which leads me to the second thing and that is – mistakes are okay.
Mistakes are the only way to learn. Don’t beat yourself up every time you make a mistake. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because that will only result in not speaking. Don’t wait till it’s perfect to speak – your pronunciation, your knowledge of English, your thought, okay? Don’t wait for you to know exactly what you need to say before you speak. Start speaking, get stuck, make a mistake, ask for help, but speak. Once you’re okay with making mistakes, and again I’m telling you this because I have come terms with my mistakes, with my grammar mistakes, with my pronunciation mistakes, with my stupid typos in my videos that I don’t see because I’ve been writing words phonetically for years now that I’ve forgotten how to spell correctly, okay, but I have to become okay with it to be able to make those videos for you. And if you feel that you’re benefiting from my videos, then I know that I’ve done my work.
Then I know that I did my job in this world because at the end of the day it’s not about being perfect but it’s about communicating with the world and expressing yourself, and it doesn’t matter in what language you do that. The most important thing is that you show up. Now you know that in order for you to make things happen you have to take action and this is why I want you to take a few minutes right now and share with us in the comments below two things. One – where do you struggle the most? Is it with knowing what to learn and how to pursue your knowledge?
Is it sitting down and actually doing the work practicing, or is it confidence? What are the voices that you hear in your head? And then the second thing I want you to do is to write down your game plan. What are you planning to focus on? What are the things that you are going to learn in order to improve? Be as specific as possible.
Really, the most specific you could be and then I want you to let us know how much time out of your day you’re willing to invest practicing effectively in order to become the most fluent you’ve ever been and if you haven’t yet I highly encourage you to join our amazing online community. So I’ll post a link to it right here below.
I know I’m not objective but I’m not the only one saying it it’s really the most safest, most empowering place where you can share and learn from and create activities. So really, I’m telling you don’t waste your time. Click that link and get your butt in there.
Thank you for letting me share this with you and I truly believe that if you put your mind into it and you do the work, English will come to you. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next time. Bye.
Have an amazing, joyous and exciting year.
I hope that you keep surprising yourself every single day this year.
With lots of love,