You can muddle your way through writing emails, posting on social media, speaking with clients and presenting your project.
Your English is reasonable and you can function at a satisfactory level.
Like when you use your everyday vacuum cleaner that gets the job done. Eventually. Because you have to go over some patches several times. The machine’s heavy and clunky. It emits a high-pitched whine and is difficult to manoeuvre around corners and under sofas. When you’re done, you have a passably cleaned carpet and your back hurts.
But one day you’re helping a friend at her place and you try out her top of the range vacuum cleaner. Wow! How much smoother and faster. It glides through the house with a gentle hum. It picks up all the dirt the first time. A vastly improved experience using less effort and resulting in a cleaner floor plus no back pain.
Going for mastery in English is like opting for a high-end vacuum cleaner.
Why does mastery matter?
Mastery means taking less time to get your message across clearly, confidently and precisely.
Mastery also means both you and your reader or listener feel comfortable, with minimal straining to communicate.
When it comes to your work, what’s at stake?
If you’re a coach, mastery entails empathising, explaining and encouraging your client – with ease.
If you’re a doctor, mastery is pinpointing the correct diagnosis, recommending the appropriate treatment, reassuring your patient and writing up the case – with ease.
If you’re a photographer, mastery involves perceiving what your client really wants so you can give them the best suggestions – with ease.
Mastery means not feeling out of your depth. And being less fazed by unexpected or new situations.
Mastery is moving from complacency to high performance.
But when you have a thousand things to do, how do you find the time?
How to move to mastery?
Sometimes you only have enough time to vacuum just one room.
And that’s fine. Incremental improvements over time can lead you to mastery. A little bit every day goes a long way.
Or as they say: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
So what kind of bites can you take?
Next time, we’ll look at more elephant-friendly tactics to move from good enough to mastery in English.
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© Christina Wielgolawski