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As an aspiring online worker, you might seek to improve your skills in a range of areas. The competition is fierce and you need to put yourself forward as the ideal candidate.

Yet, to become a successful virtual assistant, good communication skills are a must. And thus, a decent level of English proficiency.

This is true whether you specialize in email marketing, customer service or social media. It’s literally the ABCs of the virtual assistant role.

But do you have what it takes to learn English well? And if you’re an extrovert, do you stand a better chance at it?

Read on, you’re about to find out.  

Who Is Better at Learning English: Extroverts or Introverts?

It’s an ongoing debate, does extraversion or introversion affect the ability to learn a new language?

The extroverts find it easier to engage in conversation and thus get more practice. Yet, the introverts are less susceptible to distraction. And as a result, they’re able to retain more information than extroverts.

The University of Putra Malaysia found that extroverts score better at speaking. Introverts, however, perform better at listening than their extroverted counterparts.

But, this is not a matter of one-upmanship.

Wherever you fall on the introvert-extrovert scale, you’re perfectly capable of learning English.

Personality factors only determine what challenges you might face when learning a language.

This article aims to help you overcome those challenges.

The Extroverts: Language Learning Strengths and Weaknesses

The extroverts are lauded for their gregarious, sociable and outgoing nature. Their readiness to initiate a conversation creates the ideal conditions for learning a language.

The extroverts are risk-takers. As such, they are more likely to challenge their existing knowledge and take it to the next level.

Yet, this social boldness is not a guarantee you’ll master a new language. Conversing right off the bat can lead you to repeat errors that get easily fossilized.

The table below shows the different communication styles of different personality types.

Most Introvert vs Extrovert charts are written by an introvert. So here’s one by an extrovert.

What Are the Challenges Extroverts Face When Learning English

As an extrovert, listening might not be your strong suit. So, it’s a good idea to try and put some conscious effort into it.

Listening will help you build your language skills from the ground up. You’ll be able to set a good foundation which you’ll be able to build upon when conversing with others.

“To express yourself in a new language you must first absorb the language by listening, reading and learning vocabulary. These activities will always account for about three-quarters of your effort while you are working to achieve a basic level of fluency. But from the beginning, you also have to work on your skills of expression: pronunciation, writing, and conversation. Developing these skills requires a conscious commitment to regular and patient practice.” Source: Medium.com 

As an extrovert, you might struggle with maintaining focus for long periods. But there’s a remedy for this. There’s a host of useful learning strategies to help organize your learning sessions.

How to Build Your Language Skills as an Extrovert 

To progress faster, all you need to do is adopt learning styles that suit you. If you’ve already cracked a system for building on your VA skills, you can use it in learning English as well.

Further interesting research suggests that extroverts have a penchant for visualization strategies. So, use visual learning formats, such as videos, whiteboard, flashcards, post-it notes, etc. 

Below are a few more English learning tips for extroverts.

  • Join a speaking club. Are you the life of the party? Leverage this ability and attend regular speaking club meetings.
  • Get rid of distractions. Allot time for learning and eliminate distractions. Separate business and pleasure and get the best of both worlds.
  • Practice English out loud. As an extrovert, the easiest way to process the information is via speech. So, make your life easier and practice articulating out loud new content you’re acquiring.
  • Study at your own pace. Create a custom learning schedule that suits you. Break up your learning sessions with timely breaks. This will help with any concentration issues you might be facing. Try the Pomodoro or Flowtime learning technique.

The Introverts: Language Learning Strengths and Weaknesses

Contrary to popular belief, introverts can be exceptional at learning to speak English. It’s just that they might be uncomfortable initiating a conversation, especially if they’re new to a language. 

They’re generally known for taking more time to process information in social situations. But this doesn’t have to affect their ability to learn a new language.

According to Steve Kaufmann, a polyglot and founder of LinQ: 

”Introverts are no less capable in their own language than extroverts. Introverts don’t have a smaller vocabulary, or read less, or understand less. Nor are they interested in fewer things. Introverts may behave differently in the new language or speak less at some social gatherings than extroverts, but introverts typically have a lot to say when they are comfortable.”

Scientific research shows introverts use many cognitive strategies when learning a new language. They tend to come up with learning formulas that help them with language acquisition.

They also display goal-oriented behavior which is needed for long-term success in learning a language.

The quiet power of introverts
Source: bbc.co.uk

What Are the Challenges Introverts Face When Learning English

Introverts are sensitive to making mistakes. And you’ve guessed it, this can be a setback when mastering a language.

If you’re self-conscious about your English, allow for some time before you’re ready to speak. Then expose yourself to communication situations, even if that goes against your instincts.

Introverts are known for having a strong learning drive. So use this to make up for any lack of speaking practice.

How to Build Your Language Skills as an Introvert

If you’re an introvert and want to level up your English, muster the courage and plunge into it. Learn about your strengths and weaknesses and choose learning styles that feel right. 

While grammar or listening tasks might feel more comfortable, sooner or later you’ll have to speak up. So, step out of your comfort zone and find the right medium for communication.

Below are some language learning tips for introverts that will help you get there:

  • Articulate your thoughts. As an introvert, you won’t feel like talking to other people in a foreign language most of the time. But you can talk to yourself, right? Practice speaking by retelling the plot of your favorite book. Or find an interesting video on YouTube and pause it at times to repeat phrases in the target language.
  • Engage in one-on-one tutoring. Speaking in groups might feel awkward to you. Still, you can hire a language tutor to help you polish up your speaking skills. After you’ve broken the ice your speaking skills will start picking up. 
  • Organize study sessions with friends. Invite your friends to a private gathering to study English together. Let the participants switch between teacher-learner roles. Expect a positive outcome. Expect progress when you have a company of like-minded people gathered around a common goal. 
  • Join internet chat rooms. Join groups and chat rooms and interact with people within your comfort zone. Express yourself in writing first. This can be a huge confidence booster before you get out into the world.

Polish Up Your English: Become a Successful Remote Worker

Advancing your English can open up exciting job opportunities and increase your earning power.

Extroversion doesn’t have to be the make or break factor for improving your language mastery. As an introvert, you’re equally capable of becoming fluent in English.

Knowing how to overcome your weaknesses and build on your strengths will bring you to your goal faster. 

It’s like a game of chess, but you’re playing against yourself. You need to predict your moves and plan for the best outcome. That’s when you gain the upper hand.

Ready to move ahead in your language learning pursuits? Sign up to our “Basic English Language Training for Virtual Assistants” course and become the best contender for any VA position.

Photo by Freepik / CC BY

Katrina
Author

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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