Introverts can be shy and appear to be quiet. However, in reality, they are just selective about who they open up to. They relish alone time so that they can reflect on things and recharge their batteries. However, this doesn’t make them any less capable of communicating in English or practicing it in other ways. In fact, introverts can use their natural strengths to help them get better at English. And in this article, we will be focusing only on the practice phase of the journey.
The following 9 ways will help you Practice/Speak your English as an introverted person:
Talk to the mirror
You can practice English on your own by conversing with your reflection in the mirror. When you face a mirror, you can see your mouth and facial expressions as well as your body language. Talking to your reflection will make you feel as if you are having a conversation and will encourage you to experiment with new words and topics. If you don’t know what to say, pick a topic ahead of time and stick to it. You should also set a time limit and talk for the entire allotted amount of time. As you gain confidence, increase your time goal.
As an introvert, an awkward situation occurs when you are not prepared to speak English in real life. So by practicing in front of a mirror, you will be better prepared for real-life situations, and therefore less nervous and more confident when talking to people.
Use the technique of Shadowing
My preferred of several solo speaking exercises is shadowing, because it truly works. Shadowing is a speaking exercise in which you repeat a spoken text immediately after you hear it. To practice the physical aspects of spoken English, such as its rhythm, musicality, and pitch, you should repeat everything you hear as closely as possible. It’s also a great method to improve your English pronunciation.
Recording your voice and playing it back
Recording yourself and listening back to what you’ve said is a terrific way to boost your speaking abilities. In order to get a real sense of our fluency, accuracy, and naturalness, we must listen to ourselves speak. We might be able to detect small grammatical problems as we speak or we may feel more at ease in certain sections of a conversation than in others. However, we will not be able to detect more than this as speaking and thinking of what to say next make up the majority of our brain power, which makes this technique so important.
Act in different situations
By practicing acting and imagining situations, you’ll train your brain to think more creatively. This is a skill that introverts will need to work on. By thinking about different things, you’re giving your brain the chance to imagine new possibilities.
You can practice this by acting out scenes from movies or series or using role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons to build your skills. It doesn’t have to be dramatic – it can simply be envisioning what it would be like to be in a coffee shop with a friend who is preparing for his wedding, and the conversation would be about organizing the event.
Conversations: 1-1 first, small groups 3-4 later
Large groups are intimidating for any newcomer to a foreign language (I know from experience), so avoid them in the beginning. Individual interactions are much more effective and fulfilling if you can concentrate on them. If you cannot find a conversation partner inside your friend group, you may do so online. For introverts, I would suggest developing a relationship with the same person over time. Meeting someone new each time might not be as good as meeting the same individual over time.
For that, you can use Tandem Language Exchange which is a language exchange app that connects language learners with native speakers.
With that being said, one-to-one conversations online tend to be intimate and thus getting deviated from the main purpose which is practicing a language, which makes it annoying for some language learners.
That’s why once you feel comfortable speaking one-to-one, you can then go for small groups.
Again, just small groups, 3-4 people.
Here I recommend using meetup if you feel you’re confident and comfortable enough to meet with 2 or 3 people in a cafe. If not you can look for online alternatives, such as meetup (online), or inatlantis which is a language exchange platform that connects language learners with native and advanced speakers. Users can participate and/or schedule customized group calls based on their own areas of interest. Allowing anonymous profiles can give you the chance to take your progress step by step.
Nervousness around speaking is usually caused by not knowing what to say. Create cheat sheets to overcome this. Prior to your doctor’s appointment, research common phrases and phrases related to your issue. Before paying a bill, eating at a restaurant, interviewing for a job, making a complaint, or taking any other scenario that might make you anxious, use this approach.
Learn how to rephrase
As an introvert, It’s crucial not to get stuck while speaking English. And to avoid that, don’t overthink how you say things, just relax and if you have trouble expressing something in a particular way, rephrase it immediately to avoid awkwardness.
Use Siri or Alexa
The only method to make yourself understood by Siri is by using your words. Since it’s a machine, you can’t rely on environmental cues or facial expressions to communicate your thoughts. As a result, you must express yourself as precisely and accurately as possible which makes using it a terrific idea.
Another positive aspect of using Siri is that she is always available (as long as your phone is charged and connected to a Wi-Fi network).
Retell a story in English
This is one of the hardest techniques, yet one of the most helpful ones.
Take the challenge one step further by retelling a story in English. Describe other people’s thoughts in your own words, retracing a tale. You may begin with a common tale from your culture. In addition to conveying the message of words, you should express all rhetorical and cultural connotations.
This technique doesn’t only help you improve your overall speaking skills, but also helps you boost your ability to rephrase which will make you able to interact perfectly in every situation.
The key to speaking English as an introvert is to find your own developed and preferred ways to practice that don’t require you to be the center of attention. Remember to focus on being yourself, being prepared to answer questions, and definitely don’t apologize for being an introvert.
While you might have some extra challenges, being an introvert also comes with some unique strengths. And with these tips, you can be sure that you’re practicing your English speaking skills as an introvert.
Now, please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you have to change who you are to be able to improve your speaking skills. If you’re an introvert and you want to practice your English, you don’t have to change who you are. You can enjoy the benefits of being an introvert while also feeling comfortable practicing your English skills.
I am an introverted entrepreneur. I co-founded www.inatlantis.com, a language exchange platform that connects learners from around the world to improve their language skills with native speakers. I speak five languages (Arabic, French, English, Spanish & Amazigh).