Three Secrets to Mastering Spoken English!
March 13, 2020
Dear Chinese friends,
We hope you are safe and well – and using this time fruitfully to hone your English with many of the online programs. English is important to you, and your career, but it’s also important to help you tell China’s story to the world.
And speaking of English, today I want to tell you 3 No Fail Secrets to Improving Oral English!
First of all – are you motivated to improve your Spoken English? If yes, hold your hand up until I ask the next question. Is your hand up? Now, keep your hand up if you spend at least 20 minutes a day practicing, aloud, your spoken English.
Wow – even from here I can see hands go down! If your hand went down, you are not motivated!
“But I am motivated,” some students complain. “I just have no time or environment.”
Nonsense! If you were motivated, you would find time or create the environment. What exactly is motivation? We cheapen the word to mean “hope” or “desire,” but that is only part of it. Motivation is not just daydreaming. The world is full of daydreamers – like people around the world who talk about ending poverty but do nothing about it. In China, however, a core belief has been that a modestly prosperous Socialist society cannot coexist with poverty – so China has fought poverty since Liberation in 1949; now that is motivation.
So motivation is the internal and external forces that arouse enthusiasm and persistence to pursue a goal.
Desire is important, but if you do not persist it is not motivation, just wishing, or daydreaming.
MBA students told me, “We really have no time!” So I encouraged them to speak to each other in only English during the 20-minute walk to the dorm, or during a 20-minute break. “We’ll do it!” they said. But after a few minutes, they were back to using Chinese. “We’re tired,” they said. “We need the rest.”
“I do understand,” I said. “But if you were truly motivated, this would be a priority and you’d make the time daily for it. And not a lot of time!” Many people start out with a couple hours a day and quickly burn out. Better to set a smaller, reachable goal that you can stick to. Learn a little but use it a lot.