Nearly three years ago, I had to practice my English a little more as I was starting at Microsoft (in French) where the principal language was English since I was working with colleagues from all across Canada. At that time, I never really had to learn, or speak English as all my friends, family, and jobs I had were in Montréal, and didn’t require me to speak another language than my mother tongue. Of course, like any people in the IT industry, I had to read a bit in the language of Shakespeare, but not that much. It was a new world for me as I wasn’t, for the first time since I was old enough to speak, able to express myself like I want. Since I had the chance to practice a lot more in meetings, writing emails, blog posts, and by doing conferences. I remember the first time I had to do a presentation in this second language; I was terrified, and trust me, I’m not stressed when I’m speaking in front of a crowd. Today, it’s far better, and it didn’t stop me from doing what I have to do or to say what I want to say. Sometimes, I’ll search my words, and it’ll happen more often when I’m tired, but overall, I’m very happy to be able to open up my horizon by speaking another language.
I always wanted to publish this draw that the friend, Philippe Gamache, made of me for a presentation I did two years ago, in English, at the PHP Québec user group. As you can see, it was a bit jerky… I do not have a lot of things I’m not confident about in my life (hey, I’m a positive person), but speaking in English was one that put me totally out of my comfort zone. Last Thursday, I made a quick jump at the HTML Toronto user group, and discussed with the friend Matthew Potter, the organizer of this amazing group. He made me notice something: at the beginning, I was apologizing for my English in my presentations, and now, I’m making jokes out of it. I think it’s the proof that I’m way more confident that I was… I even have the friend Brendan Sera-Shriar who told me that I lost a lot of my accent: this comment came from an anglophone, so I was kind of proud about it.
Because I’m still (always) learning, I would finish this post by saying, don’t be shy to let me know when I say something incorrect, or when a sentence I wrote could be better. I used to work with the friend Andrew Howell who always helped me correct some wrong usage of words (hey Andrew, much, many), and trust me, it was always appreciated, and help me a lot with my day-to-day conversations. I promise that I won’t be upset as I want to be better!