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Julian Northbrook

Will You Forget Your English?

Mastering a language takes time and effort.

There’s no getting around this.

But what if you were just going to forget it all anyway? Would it all be a total waste of time?

This is a common concern.

And the short answer is: no, not at all.

It’s been more than 3 months since I came to Ireland. And yes, my Japanese proficiency has dulled somewhat. Instead of being lightning-fast and as smooth as a baby’s bum, I feel like I’ve got a slight hangover every time I speak it.

But honestly?

I’m not concerned at all, because I understand WHY it happens.

Perhaps you lived in an English-speaking country and you’ve just gone back to your home country, either temporarily or permanently. Perhaps you were working in an international company and used English on a day-to-day basis there and you’ve now left that job and gone to something different, in your native language.

Whatever the reason, you might find yourself in a situation, where suddenly you’re not exposed to English on a day-to-day basis.

You’re not using English as much as you used to and you feel like you’re going to forget everything.

As I said, this is something a lot of people worry about.

First, don’t worry too much. You never actually forget something that you’ve learned. This dulling of your proficiency is a result of the way the brain manages multiple languages. Languages are always switched on in your head. And this drains a lot of the brain’s energy. So what it does is, if you’re not currently using one, it puts it to sleep. You haven’t forgotten it (even if it feels like that).

Rather, you’ve just got to wake it up again.

How?

By using it, simple as that.

And of course, you can make things MUCH easier for yourself by not letting yourself completely lose touch with the language.

Watch films in English, read books, and of course…

… KEEP LEARNING.

And if you’re not sure what the best things to do to keep your English sharp are, grab a copy of my best-selling book, Master English FAST.

It’ll show you step by step everything you need to know to take your English from “OK” to “amazing”, and, of course, what to do if you’re not using the language day in day out (the place to go is here).

Best,
Julian

P.S. If you like, you can read the first chapter of Master English FAST for free (here)

“I’m Scared to Speak English with My Clients”

Do you have to speak English with clients?

Are you terrified that they’re gonna think your English isn’t up to the job?

Newsflash: you’re not alone.

This is a very common situation. It’s one that I hear from coaching clients, Extraordinary English Speakers members, people who’ve read my book and … basically anyone learning English.

It goes like this —

You understand most of what people are saying.

And you can read no problem at all.

All of that’s easy… but when it comes to speaking, you feel like there is a barrier in your way. And no matter what you do, you don’t seem to be able to get past that barrier. It’s just there. And it’s a problem. You have a high level of skill in your profession and know you are excellent at what you do… BUT! In order to actually do your thing well, you need to be able to communicate it sufficiently to the people who you do business with. And because you’ve got this barrier in front of you, you can’t. You’re not able to communicate your skill to the full extent. And therefore people think that your skill is lower than what it is….

This is embarrassing.

But it also puts you in a difficult situation in your profession.

After all, if you’re not getting results you won’t go far.

You are not at the limit of your skill in whatever it is that you do. You are at limit of your ability to communicate that thing that you do. Therefore, in order for you to truly shine in your work… you need to remove the barrier. You need to get around it. Smash through it. Whatever direction it is that you want to take.

Improving in English is a simple process.

You need a method which works, materials that are going to give you the samples of language that you need and the correct attitude.

Then you’re gonna need to practise the English you learn to fluency.

This is what I call the two step method.

The world’s simplest method for mastering a language.

Of course, the devil is in the details… what language do you need to study? What are the best ways to practise? But at it’s simplest level, you’ve got to learn the language and then practise it. Then it’s just a case of constantly repeating, reiterating that process. Getting better and better and better with time.

That’s what you’ve got to do. So get on with it. Get it done.

At the same time, though, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everybody knows that you’re using a second language. So, if you are say for example a consultant who has to use English with the clients and you are struggling with English and you’re worried that that’s bringing down everything that you’re doing, go easy on yourself a little bit because getting stressed out isn’t gonna help the situation. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do and if you’ve got to do the job you’ve got to do the job and just being stressed about is gonna make it even harder.

Go easy on yourself, give yourself permission to make mistakes, to screw up a little bit. But promise yourself that it’s only a temporary.

And that’s the key here.

Many people just give themselves permission to screw up, make mistakes and then they’re fine with that and they never make the effort to improve and then things go horribly wrong.

Give yourself permission to just feel okay about the fact that you’re not perfect yet…

… BUT promise yourself that you are going to improve.

Best,
Julian

P.S. If you want my help mastering English, consider joining us in Extraordinary English Speakers:

http://JulianNorthbrook.com/ees

You Must be Learning English Every Day (Even if Just 10 Minutes)

Let’s talk a little about learning English every day.

It’s simple, really.

If you wanna get good at English fast…

… you need to be putting time and effort into your English. Every. Single. Day.

This isn’t just about spending more time learning (though that helps). But because of the way the brain works (something in psycholinguistics we call activation), we are constantly going in and out of fluency in a language.

Have a watch of this video:

Now, what this means is this: If you spend, say just one or two hours once a week studying and practising English, you’ll give yourself a big boost in ‘activation’ (which is an important part of proficiency). But then that activation will gradually disappear over time. And if you’re only learning and practising once a week… it’ll be gone LONG before you’re next learning session. So although you think you’re learning, actually you’re just going back to zero each time.

So what we need to be doing is constantly bringing it back up.

And this is why it’s better to learn just, say, 10 minutes a day, than it is to spend a whole day once a week.

You need to be doing it daily.

Yes, spending more time is better than spending less time… but the important thing is OFTEN. This is what keeps your level of activation not only up, but increasing.

Now, if you want more on this?

Check out my book Think English, Speak English.

It goes into detail about how language works in the brain, why you translate or get stuck thinking in your head, and how to stop it. And yes, activation is an important part of this — and in speaking fluently (Here’s the link again).

Enjoy.
Julian

P.S. Here’s what Camila Bortoli said about Think English, Speak English:

“I loved this book! I was feeling lost in my English, after reading this book I found myself. I found how to improve my difficulties. I appreciate every single word in this book.”

Here’s the link to get it.