My 8-Month Journey to English Confidence at WORK

February 22, 2024
By Cho Cho (Hey Lady! Member)

This article was written by Cho Cho, a Hey Lady! member living and working in Japan. Read on to find out how Cho Cho went from feeling dissatisfied with her English, to communicating confidently and delivering English presentations to international clients - in just eight months!

Hi friends, I want to share my Hey Lady! story.

I am originally from Myanmar and I have been living in Japan and working at an international sales group. 

The main language spoken at my work is Japanese, and I use it every day, but I continued learning English so I could become more proficient and so that I wouldn't forget the language. 

So, I took the TOEIC Listening & Reading test two years ago and got an 860 score after doing self-study for two years. As a result, my boss and some of my colleagues thought I was very good at English and that I had an 'advanced English level' simply because I received that score.

So, they gave me the chance to communicate directly with foreign customers at work, including European, Asian and American clients. This new role included taking meeting minutes and sometimes interpreting English to Japanese, and vice versa. Sometimes, I even had to deliver presentations in English when international clients visited our office. 

The truth is... I was confident writing work emails at that time, but I could only speak English a little! 

So when it came to formal meetings and discussing certain topics including technical terms, I lost my confidence. And sometimes I could not catch native speakers' conversation, or understand accents or pronunciation.

I felt like I couldn't fulfil my employer’s expectations, and honestly - I wasn’t satisfied myself, either!

So I decided to join Hey Lady! In April 2023 to practise speaking in real conversations and so that I could understand different people and different accents.

After being a member of this community for just eight months, I noticed that I felt confident and I could speak to anyone freely!

Sometimes I can't express the exact meaning that I want to, but because my vocabulary has increased, I can describe my thoughts in different ways. I wouldn’t say that I magically became an advanced English speaker, but having a conversation to any English speaker is not difficult for me anymore! 

Now, I can deliver presentations about my company to foreign clients and make professional recommendations to suit their needs, little by little.

A huge thanks to the Hey Lady! coaches, Big Sisters and members who have been involved in my journey. 

Even my boss noticed my English had improved, and this made me even more motivated to keep challenging myself!

I know I have to keep trying to be more proficient, get satisfaction from my clients and I also hope to increase awareness of my company in the market.

I will try by taking small, regular actions towards the goals I want to achieve, and hope that you ladies will come along with me to achieve the goal that you all want, too.

See you in my next article! 

Ready to improve your professional English skills like Cho Cho did? Click here to learn more about our 'English For Work' Coaching Program!

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