How to overcome nervousness while welcoming English-speaking clients?

The OP of this question struggles with speaking with English-speaking clients.

Nervousness interferes with how we deal with people, making it on-topic on IPS.SE.

The OP shares (many) details, and I think this is answerable. It is not too broad, opinion-based, and is clear enough.

Can we reopen this question?

Note: That question is similar to How can I calm myself down when giving a presentation?

Both questions deal with nervousness when facing other people.

2 Answers 2


No, we don't.

Not without some serious editing first.

I voted to close this originally because in my opinion the OP will need to clarify whether they are looking for a cure for their nervousness (as the question now states), or whether they are looking to fix an interpersonal problem here.

The OP of this question struggles with speaking with English-speaking clients.

True. 'I'm far from self-confident, especially when visitors are "big" people.'. We can't cure nervousness here though!

Nervousness interferes with how we deal with people, making it on-topic on IPS.SE.

Fine. Although I'm still not sure what this OP is looking for, a cure for nervousness or a way to do these 'dealings' without showing their nervousness.

The first requires an intrapersonal solution, and is basically what the question is asking right now: How to overcome nervousness.

And in the body:

It's so hard to be myself at work. I persuaded myself several times that my director and those visitors are just people and they will never bite me, but I can't help feeling anxious. How can I overcome my nervousness

The second is an interpersonal skill, the ability to act normally despite nervousness.

The way this question is written makes it clear that the OP is looking for a cure for the nervousness, not a way to handle these interactions without showing the nervousness, and that makes it focused on an intrapersonal solution and that makes it off-topic here.

But even if you don't agree with the original close reason:

If the OP is willing to pick one, there are a few questions that have to be answered and there's some fluff that needs to go.

Almost 1/3 of them are English speakers, which I seldom expected before.

Does this mean the OP wasn't told this when accepting the internship?

Similar things recurred several times. I knew my coworkers next door, who are all Chinese and advanced English users, especially my demanding director, all heard the way I talked, which made me frustrated and feel like a fool. This is my first formal internship and it's an opportunity for my future career. The more I try to do a great job, the more worried I become about my performance. My director occasionally praised me for translating gallery paperwork from and into English (which is what I take care of, too) and doing some other chores, and I value her positive impressions on me. Even I cannot do the greeting thing as well, I don't want to be thought poorly of, due to my spoken English. There's another intern who majors in English literature and had been an exchange student in the U.K, able to chat in English naturally. I'm not jealous or mean to compete, but feel the pressure from time to time.

The parts that are struck through don't add any further detail/ details necessary for answering and can go.

In fact, I'm not always as anxious. Being an introvert, normally I can socialize with people and do public speaking. I also have a few English-speaking friends, with whom I'm not-that-easily inclined to chat in anxiety. They know I'm still a learner between intermediate and advanced, thus they'll never mind my speaking speed, which may turn slow when idiomatic expressions suddenly escape me at certain topics. When I have trouble understanding their speech, I ask for clarification without hesitation. (But we don't meet up frequently, so there are not enough opportunities for me to speak English after work. Maybe it partially explains my anxiety.)

This can all go, and be replaced with 'I have no trouble with public speaking or speaking English outside of work'.

There's also a question here:

Being an introvert, normally I can socialize with people and do public speaking.

Is this supposed to read 'despite being an introvert' or 'Being an extrovert'?

So basically, besides picking what problem the OP wants addressed, they should also answer some questions and we should edit out the unnecessary fluff.

  • I don't see why you interpret that the OP wants to cure his nervousness. This question is the same as this question: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/1087/…, basically they are asking "how can I 'calm down' when I'm welcoming English-speaking clients?"
    – Vylix
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 18:32
  • 1
    And I don't know why you think nervousness cannot be "cured". Isn't that what IPS for? Improving IPS so we can handle our nervousness better. That's what "the cure" is. Suggest the OP to train talking in front of mirror. Direct him to a book. Suggest anything that can ease his nervousness before dealing with the clients is what the OP want.
    – Vylix
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 18:38
  • 1
    That question you linked to is very old, and from before my time here on IPS. If I were around back then, I might have voted to close that as well.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 18:41
  • 1
    On-topicness might have evolved around here. However, I really don't want IPS become a "site to solve your problem with Interpersonal Skills". I'd rather have IPS to become somewhere you can ask anything to learn about Interpersonal Skills, even by, but not limited to, solving real life problem.
    – Vylix
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 18:44
  • See this... the question, as it is now, doesn't invite answers that are solely related to interpersonal skills. It invites answers that provide lifehacks, and well, even 'take a xanax pill' will help 'cure' nervoussness. So the question needs to be edited before it is reopened to prevent answerers from writing answers that don't involve Interpersonal skills.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 18:57
  • If an answer only suggest something that blatantly non-IPS, we can just downvote and delete them. I don't see how that question will invite lifehack answers. Have you read the answers on the linked question? All of them deals with IPS side. Excellent answers.
    – Vylix
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 19:06
  • @Tinkeringbell you can still vote to close the question :)
    – user8960
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 19:38
  • @Hamlet, that will need another meta I think. What I'm trying to say is here is a.) Explain why I thought of this as intrapersonal, not interpersonal, and therefore a bad fit --> Why I vtc'ed. But since this is about the reopening of a specific question, I'm saying that 'even if you disagree with the original close-reason there are still other problems you need to consider before voting to reopen'.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 19:45

An intrapersonal problem is off topic for this site when it does not have any interpersonal component.

So should an otherwise-interpersonal problem be considered off topic on a site dedicated to resolving interpersonal problems, just because it has an intrapersonal component?

If somebody asks me what is interpersonal about feeling nervous while speaking in English with a client, I will have to ask them what is not interpersonal about feeling nervous while speaking in English with a client. Does that really not come under our definition of interpersonal interactions? If so, how is OP supposed to know?

Remember that our help page still does not specify what is on-topic for this site.

When an intrapersonal problem complicates interpersonal interactions, the question certainly ought to be on-topic (unless we want to define what's on-topic for this site in an extremely narrow manner) but the best solutions might well not be interpersonal solutions.

So the main contradiction we face in leaving such questions open is that the best suggestions can often be provided by what we now consider off-topic answers, which are not really giving OP or future readers any 'interpersonal' solutions.

However, that is already happening occasionally, as when the best and most sensible answer to an apparently interpersonal question is "contact your insurance company before committing to any car repairs." This really is the best answer, so should we close that question as 'not interpersonal?'

So what we really need to discuss on meta and come to a consensus about is, questions where intrapersonal issues complicate interpersonal interactions should be considered on-topic by any inclusive common-sense definition of 'interpersonal', but are we willing to make an exception in such cases and allow answers to suggest non-interpersonal solutions?

The only situation for closing the Q in such cases would be when the intrapersonal problem complicating interpersonal interactions needs professional help for its resolution, in which case the question would be off-topic as being beyond the scope and competence of this website, but this OP does not seem to be having some psychological problem needing professional intervention, as far as I can make out by reading this question.

So I already cast the first vote to reopen even before reading your this meta question, and because 4 other members agreed, the question has now been reopened.

  • 1
    "Remember that our help page still does not specify what is on-topic for this site." give me a break. No one actually reads that page unless they already have a lot of rep on another Stack Exchange site. Not having that page written yet is no excuse for not closing questions.
    – user8960
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 21:49
  • "No one actually reads that page unless they already have a lot of rep on another Stack Exchange site." are you certain of that @Hamlet? Or do you think the help pages are not useful here? Then what is their purpose? We recommend and direct new members to read the help pages. It is important to list out what is on topic and what is off topic in the help pages so that new members can understand why their questions are getting closed, and our closure would carry more reasonable authority as a result. It will also reduce questions like "why is this post off topic" on meta. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 0:50
  • "Not having that page written yet is no excuse for not closing questions" __ you are absolutely right, so be sure to cast your valuable close vote whenever you see a question that needs to be closed @Hamlet. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 0:56
  • Are you trying to make policy with this? Because I don't think that anything that has any interpersonal aspect at all is on topic here - that would dilute our Q/A to meaningless levels.
    – Magisch
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 12:44
  • How can I or any other induvidual member make policy or even try to make policy @Magisch? Community consensus is required to make policy. But a question with an interpersonal aspect is potentially on topic for a site dedicated to solving interpersonal problems. A question with an intrapersonal aspect shouldn't be considered off topic just for that reason. If we consider anything intrapersonal off topic then make that explicit in the definition of what is off topic here! We also need to clarify what's on topic so that it's as clearly understood by any new member as by experienced members. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 14:25
  • Note too @Magisch that 5 members voted in agreement with the idea that this question in which an intrapersonal issue complicates interpersonal interactions is actually on topic, which is why the question was reopened. If you disagree, kindly register that disagreement by voting to re-close that question. Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 14:37

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