Did you ever had to prepare a presentation for school? You planned the subject you had to present, you did the research, and then you had to decide what had to come first and what had to come last. Preparing for an important meeting is the same. You need to decide your main goal, what you are going to say, and when.
Thinking what needs to be said before and what needs to come last is the secret of a good salesperson, businessman, or storyteller. And the ultimate secret, practice months or years in advance. It means these people prepare what they are going to say even before their ideas pops up in the mind.
Think of your business, or project. You can even think of your professional career and what you would say to your potential employer if you were in an interview process. Imagine telling them about your first job experience to the last. What would you say? What adjectives would you like to use for yourself or for the ideal job you had to do?
After you give it an initial thought you can start practicing the speech in front of a mirror - even while you are preparing to leave your house before work, each morning. The more you practice saying it alone you will start to notice you get better. More confident. You can even change some parts as you get better with your English classes. Maybe talk less, but more efficiently: selecting the words carefully.
The idea is not that you start delivering your speech perfectly each day. You will feel nervous, you will not pronounce all words perfectly, and you may feel insecure about this. But after doing it several times in a week, and maybe even months, it will become easier and you will think it is nothing: merely a routine. It will all pay off when you have that one-in a million chance to say it to the right person, at the right time: you will be able to say it with a smile, laughing internally at all the practice behind it, and you will be different from any other applicant to a job or opportunity because of your best attitude.
You need some ground rules about grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation -you can get this with an English class or lessons like the ones on Platzi. It is better if you practice a lot - like downloading the courses and reviewing them on your cellphone on the way to work. Every little bit counts!
Taking one course at a time and focusing on a lesson is a sure and slow way to progress. But the fastest way to learn is to surround yourself with English content. Repeat each lesson several times. Do you love music? Listen to songs only in English. Learn their lyrics and if you don’t understand something, ask in the Platzi comments section. Do you enjoy watching movies? Watch them in English with English subtitles - that will force you to listen and read, learning pronunciation and usage at the same time. Do you love reading, or listening to podcasts? You probably know, what you can do to learn faster.
Now, to make this advice interesting: find podcasts in English about your professional interests. Read books that are published by experts in your field. Basically, force yourself to become acquainted with vocabulary and terminology that is specific to your needs and use, and chase the information that you can later apply in your own company or endeavors. The more useful you find it, the more you will continue to practice it.
Some people take a lot of time learning English, but they are afraid to practice it. Some people feel like they prefer formal e-mails, and avoid calling anyone. Others prefer only informal media, because they are afraid of not knowing the formal ways to write a letter or e-mail. Others rely on speaking to have one to one conversations. All of these methods are good, but the best way to go is to practice all of them whenever possible.
When calling someone in English, do not be afraid to ask them “Can you please speak slower?” or “Excuse me, could you talk louder? I can’t hear you". English is more than just a set of words, it is also the tone in which you speak them. Using English for a business context may require you to learn additional formal writing rules to avoid misunderstandings.
To take English lessons in platzi you should take a look at the courses of el Curso de Inglés Práctico y Cotidiano. We would love to hear any other advice that you have for other students!