The challenge

English is not my native language so I’m a bit nervous whenever my job requires me to speak English. Actually I don’t have any problem with speaking English when I’m in meetings or training or seminars as an attendee. However, I will get jittery when I have to lead meetings.

My projects are usually related to colleagues in different locations around the world so we certainly need to communicate in English for both native and non-native speakers. Whenever I am the one who lead a meeting, I will think of some things that tend to make me gain a little frustration for example:

  • Pronunciation: will they understand me when I speak English with Thai accent? or am I able to get what they ask me or give comments if I’m not familiar with their accents?
  • English grammars: Someone said that we aren’t English native speakers so we don’t have to worry about the right grammars that much when we speak English. Still, I want to communicate English correctly as much as I can so I always think of all of tenses, prepositions, word choices, determiners, and etc. while speaking English. From doing that, I’m sometimes confused and my talks might not naturally flow as I want it to be.

Anyway, I generally try not to show this uneasy feeling so whenever I’m going to lead a meeting; I will try to act like this.



But in fact, I feel like this in my mind.



And when meetings finish, I sometimes feel exhausted.



Despite facing nervousness, I still want to do that because it is the challenge that I’m willing to take on. As I always want to be in this kind of environment where I can practice and use English in communication especially speaking and writing.

av14I know I can do it!

Pictures Credit: Onion-Club

11 thoughts on “The challenge

  1. I cam emphatise with you even though English is my first language. I’m an Asian-person living in Australia, but I don’t speak English with an Australian accent. Like you, I always wonder if Caucasian Australians understand what I’m saying when I’m speaking to them especially in a presentation-type kind of situation. I love the pictures/cartoons/gifs you’ve included in your post – I relate to all of that when I’m forced to give a speech or when meeting new people for the first time.

    • Thank you. I often feel like I use up my energy after I attend those meeting that I lead especially when I need to give presentation. And due to my concern, I spend 2-3 days preparing presentation file compare to the one that I will speak in my mother tongue (Thai) language which I use only 1 or half day to prepare. Because I need to make sure that attendees should understand what I am trying to communicate so if they can’t get my speech, they can understand from reading the power point. However, I can’t put anything on the presentation otherwise it will only consist of sentences/statements and of course it will be boring. Other than that, I need to focus on everything in the meeting if the presentation needs discussion to reach an agreement. That’s why I feel like I use up my energy after those meetings.

      By the way, I went to Australia to study English language for 6 months which I remembered that the first time I had conversation with my host mom. She might have understood what I was trying to say around 40-50% while I needed to adjust my brain to get her Aussie accent too. However, after living with them for a while it seemed that we could understand each other finally.

      Thanks for your comment and stopping by :)

      • It sounds like you put in a lot of effort into preparing your presentations, good on you! And because of this, I’m sure that your colleagues who only speak English understand you very well.

        Yes, the Aussie accent can be hard to wrap around your head when you first hear it. It took me a while to get used to it when I moved back to Melbourne.

        I really like what you’re writing here, keep up the good work :)

  2. As a caucasian Australian I can say that most people will understand you. There are many accents here, and the people who refuse to try and understand probably aren’t going to be at your presentation. Occasionally I find it difficult to understand a Scottish person due to a heavy accent, but on the whole, one gets the context of the conversation, even if you don’t get every word. BE confident!

  3. Good luck and I do understand what you mean. I have traveled a lot and learned that sometimes having your grammar perfect isn’t as important as just speaking naturally and using the right vocabulary. I hope you get a lot more confident and remember even native English speakers don’t always use grammar correctly!!

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