Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you ever tried speaking with a native and felt unsure of how you came across?

Have you ever worried that they might not understand you or be interested in talking to you in English?

How do most native speakers feel when English learners have conversations with them?

It’s a lot to think about and it has much to do with how you present yourself.

We’re going to give you some tips to help you in this situation, and show you what matters when you are trying to speak to natives or anybody else.

Here’s a question that talks about this issue and asks some pertinent questions.

My name is Bill and I started listening to your podcast a year ago. I love it, and it has aroused my interest in listening to other podcasts and the news in English. I’ve been learning English for 20 years, but sometimes I feel like I still have not mastered it. I understand about 80% of what is said in podcasts, but in real life it’s much harder in conversations. This is true especially when the conversation involves more than one person.

So I would like to know if it’s true–apart from English teachers, in general do native speakers feel annoyed or bored if the person they are talking to can’t properly articulate themselves in English?

Lastly what else can I do to improve my English besides reading in English and listening to podcasts? I’m already 41 and I wonder if I’m too old to try to master anything else.

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You Feel The Pressure and It May Show

We know that many of you feel pressure about speaking to native English speakers.

We want to help you build confidence in your speaking and conversations.

When you are facing just one person, it’s much easier than when you are facing a group.

There’s also the aspect of being out in the world and in the moment, instead of just listening.

Though you may feel the pressure, you have to work through this in your head so that it doesn’t negatively affect your interactions.

It Has Much To Do With Confidence

People take their cues from you, so your first impression matters greatly.

If you are talking with your head down, talking quietly, and not showing confidence then they pick up on that.

This makes it hard to understand you, and it gets in the way of a good interaction.

They are also picking up on the cue that you are not good enough to talk to, and this isn’t good for either of you.

This is true even in your own native language–people pick up on cues from the other person.

If you show low confidence, then it comes across that way.

If you show confidence and self respect, then that makes a huge difference in your conversation.

The other person will pick up on that confidence, respect you, and want to talk to you.

Confidence in the way you present yourself makes a huge difference in your conversations and connections!

Tips For Showing That Confidence

Try to dress the part and help yourself to be more confident by making yourself look and feel good.

Dress for the job you want and not the job you have!

Body language matters greatly here too, which is the way you carry yourself.

Your posture, a nice smile, and opening yourself up makes you feel better and helps you to be more approachable.

The Interaction May Have Nothing To Do With You

There’s the whole other world of what’s happening in their head that can influence all of this.

People may not be even thinking about you or their interaction, they may have much bigger things on their mind.

If you approach them with confidence and they react bored or annoyed, then that has nothing to do with you.

Other people’s emotions are not your responsibility!

Consider what else is going in their day or in the environment because their approach likely has nothing to do with you.

Your responsibility is to take care of yourself and show forth with confidence, and that’s it.

It’s Never Too Late To Grow and Learn

It’s never too late to make breakthroughs in anything, including learning English.

The more that you challenge yourself, the more that you will learn and grow.

You are never too old, and there’s so much more to it.

The letter comes from somebody who is doing a great job of listening but it’s always good to try to include more of the production in speaking.

You will make it that much further with English if you focus on making conversations in addition to just listening to it on podcasts or the news.

Try to challenge yourself and break out of the same old ways to learn English.

It will keep it interesting, but it will also help you to grow and learn more in your skills.


It can be challenging to talk to natives and not worry about how you are perceived–but your confidence is everything here.

Do your part to work at listening to and making conversations in English.

The more practice that you get, the more that it will benefit you in the long run.

Then be sure that you approach these conversations with great confidence because the listener takes their cues from you.

Be confident in your interactions and know that sometimes their reaction has nothing to do with you.

Keep all of this in mind and just keep working at mastering your conversations in English–this is how you continue to make great connections!

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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