Talking about complex topics is crucial when you work in English

You are comfortable expressing yourself on simple topics in English or about your work: everything you usually talk about in your daily life requires less effort and you feel perfectly at ease.

But when it comes to talking about politics, emotions or explaining complex situations, you’re stuck. You start talking, realize you’re missing words, then get lost in the middle of a sentence.

When you reach that intermediate plateau in English, this is what happens. And yes, it happens to everyone!

Imagine if you could overcome this and reach the stage where you are able to discuss complex topics without being blocked. How do we get there?

There are three things you need to remember:

1. The structure of English is not the same as your own language. In other words, you feel that you are not explaining something correctly, because you are not explaining it in the same way as in your own language. This does not mean that you are explaining it wrong! For example, a lot of the information in English is given through the verb choice, whereas in French, it is often the noun that conveys what you want to say. The way French is structured favours nouns and there are some sentence structures that simply don’t work in English. This is something I work on with my coaching clients.

2. Keep your sentences short and simple. Connect them with the easy connectors we use most often in speaking: “and”, “but”, “so”, “because”. Learn a few easy phrases so you can make your point more explicit, like “this means (that)…”

3. You need to expand your vocabulary to areas that you would not normally cover. What is the best way to do this? Think about what vocabulary topic would be useful in your own language and then look up the corresponding words. Make a mind map or visual containing this vocabulary, and then practice speaking about the chosen topic with the vocabulary in front of you. If you sign up for a fluency class, that’s what you’ll do.

Again, there is no magic formula for successfully addressing complex topics: it takes practice and time (and of course a little effort!)

Have you already downloaded our free PDF on fluency? Discover our best tips to improve yourself!