Speak English Confidently: A Course for Busy Scientists and Other Professionals

You may already understand English well, but maybe you don’t feel you can speak English confidently in meetings. (In fact, you may not feel comfortable speaking in English at all!)

  • Do you avoid small talk or casual conversations in English because you don’t know what to say?
  • Do you hesitate to speak up in meetings because you’re afraid your pronunciation isn’t clear or you won’t be able to think of the words you need in English?
  • Are you nervous about making suggestions or sharing your ideas because you’re not sure how to defend them or how to argue in a way that’s still respectful?

Work on what’s holding you back

Imagine how it would feel if a few hours of focused lessons could help you speak more confidently in English conversations and meetings at work.

It's possible if you have already studied enough English to understand basic conversations and read articles in your field in English-- and if you work on the specific problems that block your progress. That's why I'm offering this course: to enable you to Speak English Confidently.

I've talked to and coached scientists from many countries, and almost all can improve quickly when we focus on a few vital areas. (If you're not sure you can, contact me on the form at the bottom of the page and we can talk. Even if you wouldn't benefit from the course yet, I can suggest tips that will help your English.)

The course includes four weeks of short lessons and practice exercises that give you the keys to English speaking fluency. Then there are four bonus weeks of personalized lessons and practice focused on your individual challenges and goals.

They will prepare you to speak English more clearly and confidently, whether in Zoom or in-person meetings or in conversations.

Course Summary

The Speak English Confidently course can increase your English meeting and conversation skills, professional vocabulary, and confidence in forty minutes to just over an hour each week. 

I've kept the sessions short, because I know you have limited time for study. But because the practice is personalized and focused on speaking, even short practice sessions can have a big impact.

You will learn and use key English words and phrases for participating in a meeting, introducing and discussing proposals, and even disagreeing politely.

You'll also practice talking about your work and your interests with others. (If you're uncomfortable with small talk, there's preparation and practice that may make it a lot easier as well.)

As you discuss your work and practice defending your ideas in English, watch your speaking confidence grow!

You'll no longer need to stay quiet in meetings because you're afraid of mispronunciation or not being able to find the right words when you need them.

Learn the Vocabulary and Strategies You Need to Speak English Confidently

In this course, you'll hear and practice common vocabulary and phrases for meetings and discussions in English.

Learn English vocabulary and useful phrases for 

  • asking for clarification,
  • making suggestions, 
  • defending your ideas and proposals,
  • agreeing and disagreeing (politely),
  • and discussing priorities

You'll practice the most important professional words to explain your ideas, discuss what you are working on, and practice arguments to convince your team or company of the value of your suggestions.

After working with this vocabulary, you'll be sure of how to pronounce it and find it easier to remember when you need it again.

Course Outcomes

As a result of this course, you will: 

  • Feel more comfortable with “small talk” and conversation in English because you’ve practiced questions and answers about what you and others enjoy doing and other common conversation topics
  • Speak English more clearly in meetings and conversations because of mastering English syllable stresses and other keys to English pronunciation—with personalized help for any areas that have caused people to misunderstand you in the past.
  • Feel more confident speaking in virtual meetings, networking events,  and workplace interactions. We’ll review important professional vocabulary for discussing your work, persuading your coworkers, and resolving problems. We'll also examine phrases and some idioms that are common in meetings. You’ll have extensive speaking practice and role-playing to use what you’ve learned.
  • Deepen your understanding of the principles of persuasion to help you convince your boss or team to adopt your ideas.
  • Learn various ways to discuss a problem and, when necessary, raise objections while still being respectful and constructive
  • Share your ideas more confidently as you improve your word choices and speaking skills.

Who this Course Is for-- and Not for

Most of the scientists I work with have already been studying English for years. Many read (and may write) English well, but they find speaking in English difficult or uncomfortable.

If that describes you, this course is for you.

If you can understand most of what you read on EnglishHints and can make basic requests in English, you probably won't find the course too difficult. (I will be available during the whole course and the practice weeks afterward by email and at the live Zoom calls to answer any questions and support you.)

If you don't use English at work, you don't need this course. (However, if you hope to work for an international company in the future, as many of my students do, it would be valuable to you.)

If you have difficulty reading this, you're probably not ready for the course yet. (EnglishHints has lots of pages that can help you improve your reading skills. I'd recommend you start with those.)

Again, if you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to speak in English, this course can help. It's a chance to practice speaking up and sharing your ideas in a non-threatening environment, where everyone else is working on the same skills.

Why I'm Offering this Course

I have been teaching these strategies and phrases to my one-on-one students, but I'm convinced they can also work in group lessons.

In addition, the dollar exchange rate makes my one-on-one lessons too expensive for some of the people I talk to in Latin America. I wanted to offer them an alternative with some of the most useful lessons and speaking practice that my current students get.

Since this is the first time I've offered these lessons to several people at once, I'd like to test them with a small group first, so I can add materials or make changes if something is confusing or unnecessary.

Participants can make suggestions, ask for extra help, and share feedback with me about what has helped them and anything that was hard to understand or not useful.

The lessons are brief, because most of the professionals I help are extremely busy.

I'm convinced that even this short period of intensive, focused practice (plus some ideas to keep your momentum going after we finish), can make a big difference. 

How this Speaking Course Will Work

Note: This course is not currently open for enrollment. It may be offered again in late spring or summer 2024. Please contact me on the bottom of this page if  you would like to be notified when it opens again.

The basic course consists of three one-week modules to practice keys to speaking fluency in English, a live practice session and individual planning sessions to discuss what will help you overcome your personal obstacles to speaking confidently in English. There are also four bonus weeks working on those challenges.

In each of the first three modules (weeks) you will

  • watch one to three short videos (usually less than twenty minutes total, and some optional, depending on your needs)  
  • complete several short exercises to practice and prepare to speak, often by recording a short video or audio file (your choice). I will review two of them (or all of the recordings you want me to if you choose the premium option) and make suggestions, and you can post any you are willing to share for your fellow students to respond to, for extra practice and to get to know each other before the live practice session. 

Week four's lesson will be a "live" group Zoom call based on the first three weeks' practice. It may be offered at several times based on the best times for most people. It will be recorded for those who can't attend.

The live call will probably last about 45 minutes to an hour, to give everyone a chance to briefly explain their work and what is most important to them about it and to discuss it together. I'll also stay to answer any questions not already answered by email. 

During week three to four I'll also also offer 20-40 minute Zoom calls with me to discuss your individual English challenges and goals. We'll develop a personalized, step-by-step plan of lessons and practice materials that can help you master them over the following weeks. 

Course Organization 

Module 1 will begin with a survey and recording to help me understand a little more about your English level and priorities in English. Then you'll practice the basics of spoken English: sentence and syllable stresses, small talk, networking, and asking good questions (as well as answering them!) 

There's also an optional video and practice exercise on pronouncing and using the English past tense to discuss work that you have done in English.

Module 2 will practice meeting procedures and vocabulary, including some phrasal verbs and idioms English speakers often use in meetings.

Module 3 is about practicing the vocabulary and techniques of problem-solving and persuasion, as well as phrases for agreeing or disagreeing politely and effectively.

Each module will end with a brief survey on what was useful and what wasn't plus suggestions on what would help make the course better.

The live meeting during week 4 will include a chance for each student to give a brief description of what they or their team has been working on-- like the reports team leaders might make at a company-wide meeting. (Week 1-2 will give some examples to help you prepare. However, if you want to discuss something else instead, that's possible-- just email me to explain.)

See also the bonus practice weeks described below.


There are four bonus weeks with practice materials based on our discussion of your personal needs. (They include a   free trial of my low-cost membership program which can help you keep your momentum going even after the course.) These bonus weeks are designed to help resolve any issues holding you back from clarity and confidence. 

The bonus mini-courses below are examples of the kinds of lessons and practice that some people have wanted (and that I have already taught in the past.) If you need to work on a different skill. I will help you find or make lessons to overcome your English challenges.

Mini-course 1: Better English Pronunciation. This short course-- or the parts of it you need-- can help you recognize and pronounce English vowel and consonant sounds, understand spoken English better, and understand the connection between English spelling and pronunciation.

2. Tricky Grammar Made Simpler:

  • the different uses of 'make' and 'do,' 
  • using prepositions, especially the differences between 'at,' 'in,' and 'on,'
  • questions about tenses in English, etc.

3: Improve Your English Listening Skills. Learn a few tips for better comprehension and get suggestions for targeted talks, podcasts, and other listening materials online (based on a brief survey you complete on your interests, needs, and time available). They can help you improve your English fluency quickly and in the most interesting way  possible. 

4: Jumpstart Your English Vocabulary. This mini-course gives you the keys to multiply the number of English words you can use confidently.

5. Giving feedback, resolving conflict, negotiation, and other communication skills for leaders using English.

NOTE: This group course is not currently available. You can sign up below to ask to be notified when it is offered again, or to ask about self-study alternatives.

If you have any questions, contact me below. Be sure to mention that you're asking or commenting about the Speak Confidently course-- and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

If you prefer, you can schedule a half-hour call with me here.

Questions or comments? Let me know!

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