Confidence when talking with native English speakers
Like many other learners, are you sometimes a little apprehensive about talking with native English speakers? Believe me, there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel this way as native speakers appreciate the great effort you are making, and will help you in any way they can. After all, you are communicating in English purely and simply because your English is better than their Chinese.
Even when things appear to be going wrong, there’s no reason to panic. If the native speaker doesn’t seem to understand what you are trying to say, don’t assume you’ve made a mistake. It may not be your fault; it could just be they need a little more time to adjust to your accent or use of English; or it may simply be they didn’t hear what you said in the first place. Have confidence in your own ability.
Don’t try to help the native speaker by automatically rephrasing what you are attempting to say as this might result in even more confusion; just relax, stay calm, and repeat whatever you originally said. If they still don’t understand, native speakers will typically ask one or two simple questions to help them figure out what you are trying to express.
On the other hand, if you can’t work out what the native speaker is saying, tell him or her straight away. If they are speaking too quickly, tell them! If you don’t understand any words or phrases, tell them! If you understand the English but don’t understand the question, tell them! Don’t be shy. If you don’t say anything, they will assume you understand everything.
Native speakers have much more English at their disposal than you, so let them adjust to you rather than you to them. Let the native speaker do all the hard work, it’s easier for them in any case; and always remember, it’s you that’s doing them a favor by speaking in English, so there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel apprehensive about talking with them.