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How to “edit” your English speaking

December 22, 2020 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

Stop trying to “edit” your English speaking as you speak.

That ain’t a good strategy.

In fact, it’s a bloody terrible strategy — and it’ll lead to all kinds of bad habits.

Like being slow and awkward when you speak… and normally making MORE mistakes and sounding LESS natural than if you just let go or the need to speak well.

The same is true of writing.

Im terrible for trying to edit my work as I go. But really, this just slows me down and kills the flow I what I want to say.

So been experimenting with an app called ILYS.

Basically, you set a word count you want to reach—for this email I’ve set it at 300 words—then start writing. But the app hides the screen, and it disables the delete key. You can’ delete, can’t see what you’re doing, and you can’t stop until you reach the word count.

You’re forced to just write.

There’s nothing else you can do.

What this does is force you to write in free-flow. All you can do is type. Keep moving forward.

The result is, what you want to say flows much more smoothly, and comes out sounding much more coherent and concise.

On the other hand, If I try to edit as I go, my mind isn’t able to flow in the same way, because I’m constantly stopping and starting, interrupting my thoughts.

Now, the downside of this of is you have more editing to do at the end…. BUT it’s never as bad as you expect. In fact, there usually isn’t much to change at all… if anything. Yesterday’s email just needed a quick spellcheck. That was it. So not only does the end writing—like this email—flow better, I get it done much, much, MUCH faster.

Now, speaking is a little different.

There’s no written record, and you can’t change what you’ve already said before it goes out to your listener.

But there is a way you can “edit” your conversations after you have them to turn them into extremely effective learning experiences so you don’t make the same mistakes next time.

It’s called “retrodictive learning”.

And I teach this method in Week 6 of the MEFA course:


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