Confidence is believing in yourself

It’s easy to lose confidence when you think you’ve performed poorly. So what can you do to boost your self-belief?

Here are some things you can try:

Focus on what you CAN do, rather than what you can’t.

Perhaps you find listening challenging, but your vocabulary is pretty good. Maybe your prepositions are a bit confused, but you know your tenses are getting better. Stop criticising yourself for the things you need to improve, and be proud of how much you’ve already learned.

Don't compare yourself to other people.

We all have different learning styles and speeds, strengths and weaknesses. The only person you’re in competition with is yourself yesterday.

Practise making mistakes.

Yes, you read that correctly. When I was training for triathlons, I used to practise ‘disasters’ all the time. Fixing my bike tyres. Getting water out of my swimming goggles. Dealing with a pain in my side when I was running. The result? Every time something went wrong in a race, I knew what to do, and I didn’t have to be afraid of problems. So practise forgetting a word and trying to explain it so others can understand; practise choosing the wrong tense so you can go back and correct it; practise falling over a long word and slowing down to pronounce it carefully. The next time you make a mistake, it won’t be such a big deal.

Slow down.

Fluency isn’t about speed, it’s about effective communication.


There’s no need to rush, especially if rushing means you’re going to make more mistakes.


Smiling floods your brain with happy chemicals, and makes other people more relaxed and patient.

When you’ve finished the phone call, meeting or whatever, take a moment to congratulate yourself, even if it wasn’t perfect. You did your best. Well done.

And of course, come and spend some time at ECS Scotland, where we can boost your confidence in as little as a week!

Let us know if you’ve tried any of these tips, and get in touch if you have some ideas of your own - we love feedback and questions. Find us on social media!

All the best!

Lindsay, ECS Senior Teacher

Build your confidence with a short course

Gain confidence by studying in a small group. Practise talking in a relaxed environment during the coffee break.