My English is not very fluent. Fluency in English is the most important skill required in Indian corporate in modern times. However, if I am asked to research the topic and make powerpoint presentation - I make it very well, but if I am asked to give oral presentation on the same, I can't. If I am asked to write an essay on particular topic I can write it very well using good words. But in oral interview, I am not able to perform well. However, till date I got selected wherever I went for interview, but I am made to sacrifice on higher designation and salary part However, now I am atleast able to perform better than 5 years ago when I was not even able to answer the question. But still I am not fluent and smart in answering questions. I often make silly grammatical mistakes while talking & often pause in middle.during interview or presenting myself in meetings or anywhere else. I wonder why the employer selects me. I was in a situation during my job where I was asked to give oral presentation in front of team and it was my biggest flop show in life. I behaved like jerk. I forgot all the points as soon as I came in front. I wasn't knowing what to say. And I requested the TL whether I can read in the notes. He allowed me but the way I was presenting the people were getting bored and TL was making facial expression as if he want to say shut-up and stop.

In my previous job I was given a feedback that I am great in written communication like drafting letters and e-mails etc. and my telephonic skills are also great but my personality is not pleasant. I am not presentable as well as my oral communication is worse. I was working there as tele-sales executive and I also made sales via phone, satisfied customer queries etc. But when I have to talk face to face, I don't understand what happens to me.

Why why why? Why is this happening to me? I want to grow professionally but without pleasant personality and communication skills how will I win the battle. I feel like a pathetic loser when I see that freshers and people younger than me are smarter than me. How come this freshers are smarter than me. I don't understand where I went wrong. Is it my abusive upbringing or my own weaknesses that are coming in the way I don't understand.

P.S. - I don't say my written and phone communication are 100% perfect. But they are much better than oral. I make silly grammatical mistakes out of nervousness while speaking or presenting. Please don't judge my written communication based on this post as I typed it in hurry.

From India, Ahmedabad
Please refer the below links and I know you will find the answer for your query.
How to Develop Good Communication Skills: 16 steps
Have patience and confidence, you can achieve what you are lacking now. Don't lose hope. Best of luck!!

From India, Delhi
Don't panic!! It happens with many. In India where people are concentrated on mother tongue compared to English its a very common issue. Do not feel offended. You need to work on your confidence. Start thinking positive about yourself. The essay/para you write can be loudly spoken. Practice in front of a mirror. You can ask your closest friend / colleague to speak with you in English which might help you overcome your fear. If you are good with your skills & talent you need not worry. If time permits you can join some personality strengthening coaching.
I appreciate that you have guts to mention the weakness in such open forum. Having said that I mean you are very clear about what is the major hindrance in your career & hence I am sure you can overcome this easily.

From India, Ahmedabad
its just a matter of shy, be clean and clear on what you want to communicate and understand before presenting it to anyone, practise makes a man perfect, you might fail in the first few, but don't lose hope, mistakes can be corrected by practising regularly
From India, Chennai
As per my view, You are much concerned about others views on you. Please be bold and stop caring about others opinions, You can defiantly come out of this problem soon. This is not the way out for your problem, but This is the initial step to be taken in order to see yourself where you want.
Represent yourself with your fullest name wherever you are and feel proud about discussing about you regarding your oral skills. Do remember always, "Wether its Good or bad, But you are a point of discussion".
All the best for your next steps, assuming you have already started the first step I referred. :)

From India, Bangalore
I can understand your situation... you are being too concious while talking and always think about events which failed you...
first of all be positive think you can do it!!! initially even i wasnt a great speaker but now i do conduct training thats because of confidence and practise.
Talk frequently in english when you are with your friends, ask them to correct your grammatical mistakes and accent... even if they make fun of you dont lose heart its common for everyone to pull each other's leg..
make it a point to watch one english movie and english serials with sub-titles on everyday basis... these days every other channel has programs and movies telecasted with subtitles.
dont expect to master this language instantly it will take a lot of time... patience is the only MANTRA!!!
happy learning!!!

From India, Bangalore
Hello RS :
Everyone has given some really valuable suggestion, it is now upto you to pick the best and take it forward.
Just to add please join a public speaking short term course from a recognised institute. This will enable you to elevate your confidence and improve public speaking.
My friend there is nothing to worry most of us have gone through this phase and apparently what matters is not the number of times we fall but how we choose to raise up and forge ahead. Believe me you are much better than many others... I can say this since I have met Engg grads who have excelled academically but lack basic communication skills.

From India, Pune
Dear Friend,
I also face this situation, but I never loose my confidence.
When you will give presentation next time, remind the points i.e. 1,2,3,4. and practice in front of your colleagues / friends.
And neglect others unwanted openions.
I attached here one nice presentation which help you to build up your confidence.
All the best.

From India, Mumbai

Attached Files
File Type: ppt Secrets of Life.ppt (313.5 KB, 525 views)


I would like to tell you that Do not assume you cannot speak in english fluently. Because if your written communication is strong, it means you know the language and proper usage of grammar. The problem is whilst speaking.

It is very common. If I look at my personality some years back, I was facing similar problem. Not only with English but even if i had to communicate face to face with someone even in Hindi or my mother tongue.

The problem was lack of confidence, shyness and my introvert nature.

But every problem has a solution, and even your problem can be solved.

Communication is a base to any form of interaction. Speaking is a little difficult than writing cause-

1. While speaking, one's mind should work at a speed greater than while writing as we cannot fall short of words while speaking and go blank.

2. Speaking will not involve just plain words - Each word we speak would be added by the weights of our tone, clarity, expression, pronunciation, the accent etc.

Hence it is a common problem with many of us that though we are strong in written communication, when it comes to speaking, we take a back seat.

What should be done:

1. Read novels or dramas that involves dialouges and speak out loud the dialouges with proper emotions and intensity.

2. Speak to mirror: At first it would be difficult even to look into our own eyes in the mirror. But eventually we'll be able to and then we can speak. If you're not comfortable making a rapport with your mirror image, talk with it in your mother tongue and later start conversing in informal english. Do this for almost 15-20 days and when you think you have a little grip over English, than you can start forming some prepared notes to speak to yourself (formal ones) and later go for unprepared or extempore.

3. Play: Honestly we forget the child in us who wish to flourish and learn more. Give yourself 1-2 min to prepare pointers on any given topic. Keep a timer / stopwatch to keep a track. After this time yourself to 3-5 min and you speak whatever you can in that time. Do not think if what you're saying is right or wrong, on the topic or off, as there would be no one to judge you. But speak, speak out whatever comes.

4. Once you think you've better grip on the language you can ask someone to judge your extempore play and evaluate it for you. Ask someone who you confide with so that you are not scared.

5. Whenever you meet different people, talk. For eg. I stay in Mumbai. I meet so many people every day. From my watchman to laundry man to auto driver to co-commuters in train and bus to colleagues to random people in lift etc. Smile to them and atleast wish them for the day. This will help you gain confidence and make your as well as their day. Neither you nor them lose right.

6. Have self confidence.You know that you're written format is good. So don't be scared of faltering somewhere. And if you'd listen carefully to many of the people who speak fluent English with lots of confidence, you'd be able to make out mistakes in their language.

In simple terms all i wish to say is - We all make mistakes but that don't mean we stop doing the thing. Failure is not the actual failure but not trying is definetly a failure...

Don't worry have a little confidence and keep me posted how did it help you.

All the best. :)

From India, Mumbai
Hello Rs111,

You have received some wonderful and insightful suggestions above. I am sure you will be benefitted following them.

Additionally, try to find a Toastmasters Club in your area. Toastmasters club is an international level organization with local and regional clubs spread all over the world including India. Here, people learn to improve their speaking skills. Toastmasters help members to enhance their public speaking and leadership skills. I think that it would a perfect platform for you to practice speaking in English in front of an audience. Once you deliver a speech, your speech is evaluated by an experienced member. Such constructive feedback will further help you make improvements wherever necessary; and the same time, you will be able to deal with the nervousness you experience while speaking. The atmosphere here is very friendly and supportive. Here is the link to the Toastmasters International website where you can find if there's a club in your area:

Find a Club - Toastmasters International

Remember, English is not our mother-tongue. So, it's very natural to feel uncomfortable. But I congratulate you to have identified your limitation and that you're willing to overcome it! You initiated the first step and see how many people came forward to help and support you.

The key is Practice-Practice-Practice! Follow the leads offered by everyone, do what suits you best and before long, you'll be fluent !!



From United States, Cary

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