125 Overcoming Shyness

Overcoming Shyness

Hagar sent a message and wanted to know how she can improve her speaking skills and overcoming the feeling of shyness when speaking in front of new people, despite being good at speaking by herself. Another issue was forgetting things like vocabulary when speaking.

I’m going to do my best to respond to this and share my thoughts about this topic today.

I also made an episode about shyness a long time ago (Episode 8).

Find Someone You're Comfortable With

Firstly, it’s really important to find someone who you feel comfortable with.

I prefer getting an online teacher because I know they are here to help me and I don’t have to feel guilty for wasting their time or anything because that’s what I’m paying them to do.

But even so, you often have to go through many different teachers until you find a good one. At the moment I have a tutor with whom I get on well and I feel comfortable making mistakes.

So whether you want a teacher or just a friend to practice with, try to find someone with whom you have a good connection.

Use a Cheatsheet

Regarding forgetting words when talking, I love using a cheatsheet during my lessons.

In my experience, the best way to get new words and phrases to stick is to commit to using them first by reading them from paper. I might write down a few example sentences and try to use them in my next conversation.

Simply by forcing yourself to use it can push it into your memory and help you remember it without help in the future.

Consciously use words at first to help them slip into your daily vocabulary.

Other Tips

Stay calm and breathe!

Challenge yourself to make mistakes and reframe the way you view them. They’re a good thing!

For more help on this topic, check out episode 124.

My Journey with Shyness

I’ve mentioned it many times before but I used to be incredibly shy. I was too scared to talk to my teachers, too scared to call someone on the phone, too scared to ride a bus – even at the age of 21.

It held me back for many years in my younger life and my biggest accomplishment has always been getting out of that shyness trap.

I’d like to say how incredible it feels to overcome shyness. If you feel like it’s holding you back, make it your main aim to overcome it and your life will get exponentially better.

What I did was basically take baby steps outside my comfort zone a few times a week. I wouldn’t do anything too crazy, because that might scare me back to where I started.

This included asking the cashier how their day was going to wearing an unusual hat.

So just take baby steps to improve your confidence – whether that’s shyness in general or just shyness speaking English. It’s all the same concept.


  • Off the top of my head – Saying something without previous preparation
  • Exponential – Increasing more and more quickly
  • Nostalgia – A fond, nice feeling when thinking about pleasant past memories
  • To beat yourself up – To be mean to yourself by saying in your head “I’m not good enough” and things like that
  • A buzz – A positive, exciting feeling

Strive for progress, not perfection.

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