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Anxiety of Public Speaking in Foreign Language

Even before TV sets had become household items, people could see brilliant actors, emotional speeches and otherwise impressive public performances usually on a theater stage.

Though new technologies have changed the world in many ways since then, public speaking remained a valuable skill not only for public performers, such as actors, TV reporters and, why not, politicians, but also for regular employees. One of the trends in a growing global market is a need for international workers to be able to deliver speeches in a language that is not their mother tongue.

Clearly, this predominantly refers to English and its relatively recently acquired place of a lignua franca in the international job market. As its influence expands over the industries and companies worldwide, it becomes easier to get a good job in an international company, as long as one has a certificate of advanced course in English.

Unfortunately, one’s skills and competences can often be overshadowed by his or her inability to communicate in English properly. On the other hand, public speaking skills can get you better career prospects and this is why you need to invest enough time perfecting them.

Job Interview

It’s natural to feel anxious about a job interview. All this stress caused by the presence of poker-face suits assessing your skills is enough to give you traumas for a lifetime – if you’re that kind of person. Still, having an interview in a foreign language can be a thousand times worse, as this gives you an additional feeling of insecurity, even if you think your language skills are good enough.

With the increasing demand of international workforce with excellent English skills, job interview has become a major issue for many prospective employees. The problem is that your performance on a job interview doesn’t necessarily reflect your grammar and vocabulary skills. If your spoken skills are poor and you feel insecure, there are no ways for you to prove that you may properly read or write in English or whatever foreign language you’ve been learning. This is what makes public speaking skills crucial – they don’t always have to show your real knowledge of a language, but rather your ability to communicate freely in stressful situations and find your way out in such cases.

When it comes to having a job interview in English, it is important that you don’t always try to come up with perfectly grammatical sentences. Instead, you should keep talking freely, without paying much attention to grammar or possible mistakes you make. If you keep correcting yourself all the time, you are actually making it much easier for the examiner to notice your mistakes.
After all, it is important to present yourself, the way you are and the way you can be, which is what public speaking is all about.

Professional opportunities

By now, the level of English has become a common item in almost everyone’s CV. Even if you’re not applying for a position in an international company, chances are your employer would need you to be able to carry out basic communication with potential foreign business partners.

If you aim for a really good place, frequent speeches and presentations in both your native language and English may well be part of your job. Certainly, this will have to do with your other professional competences at first, but public speaking in English could be a skill that will determine your professional future. This is not to say you need to be a rhetoric master or a skillful orator in order to be able to deliver your speech properly. On the other hand, insufficient knowledge of basic grammar and really strong accent can make you seem less serious and less professional. Correct English pronunciation and natural intonation can significantly contribute to you leaving a good impression on both your supervisor and his or her business partners.

Overcoming the stress

Though there are plenty of reasons for you to work on your spoken skills, unfortunately, there isn’t quite an exact recipe for overcoming the stress of public speaking. You can attend training or rhetoric classes and exercises, but the truth is you need to work constantly and invest real effort into it. Certainly, you can practice by yourself and do different exercises in order to achieve complete fluency. This will often include reading out loud, practicing in front of a mirror, listening to skillful public speakers and the major historical speeches.

However, most important is that you feel good about delivering that speech and that you’re confident about your English language skills. A good step towards improving your career prospects is starting to work on your public speaking skills, as this may in many ways find the path you’ll later take. Therefore, don’t forget to speak as much as you can, read a lot and practice conversation in English when you have a possibility to do so.


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