What are your best memories of speaking
This will help you overcome your fear of speaking in a foreign language
Some people can engage in a conversation in a foreign language without hesitation and with limited vocabulary, but with a lot of confidence and enthusiastic hand movements. For many of us, however, such a conversation creates fear. But now the good news: There is hope for these people too!
In our post we provide you with a few tips on how you can overcome your fear of speaking a foreign language.
Step 1: analyze your fear
What exactly are you afraid of? Most of the time this topic is about worrying about failure or being ridiculous.
If you've ever noticed strange and unusual words coming out of your mouth during an interview, you are likely to perceive that fear of evaluation and failure as your own fault. Anxiety limits the brain's ability to perform tasks that are normally performed without problems. One example of this is speaking in real time. When the added difficulty of new vocabulary and grammar comes on, your brain may stop working.
To avoid this, take a deep breath, think about what you want to say, and keep in mind that nobody expects you to speak a language that is not your mother tongue correctly!
Step 2: identify problem areas
If you are not used to speaking a foreign language, your brain will need some time to translate what you hear. Think of an answer in your language and then translate it. Sure, that's a bit more difficult than answering in your own language.
Do you have trouble putting your sentences together or do you find it more difficult to understand the answer of the other person? Try this trick: Don't think about an answer while the other person is still talking, but first listen carefully.
Then take a moment to organize your thoughts and formulate an answer - when in doubt, concentrate fully on listening!
Step 3: practice your listening skills
If you are not very familiar with a foreign language, you may not understand individual words. You may not understand several words correctly at the same time. Then it can help to work on your listening skills first, for example by listening to the radio in the new language or watching foreign language TV programs. This will automatically improve your speaking skills.
But even if you can improve your vocabulary and pronunciation, the media are no substitute for real conversation.
You have to understand that even with frequent listening to the language to be learned in the media, the brain is much more challenged during a conversation. Because in a conversation, you not only have to understand what is being said, but also process it and formulate an answer - or figure out how to get the information you need.
Step 4: you don't have to be perfect
You will never be able to speak a new language fluently without first using it in bits and pieces. The sooner you start speaking, the sooner you'll reach the level that makes conversation easy.
It can be frustrating to make mistakes. But in the long run it is definitely worth it to just overcome yourself over and over again. So embrace your mistakes!
Step 5: a smile, please
You will get a better answer if you ask a question with a smile. What's the worst that can happen to you? Ultimately, every native speaker is happy when a stranger tries to speak his or her language. So start every conversation with a friendly hello and a smile.
Step 6: First, practice yourself in one-on-one interviews
When a group of native speakers get together, the conversation usually becomes faster and more complex. One-on-one discussions are easier to conduct: you can gain this experience in private courses and also benefit from the input of an expert.
If you want to talk to a stranger, don't think too much about it. Be spontaneous - the longer you think about it, the harder it gets. When you're traveling or learning a language with complete immersion in the local environment, conversing with strangers is often the cornerstone of creating the best memories.
Step 7: control the speed of the conversation
If you speak slowly and clearly, you will usually motivate the person you are speaking to to adapt to your speaking rhythm. If the other person does not understand your hint, you can always ask them to speak a little more slowly, after all, you are still learning!
Step 8: Don't get discouraged if a conversation doesn't go well
Some interlocutors are more patient than others, some are more understanding and some simply understand foreign accents better. If you run into someone who is impatient or rude when you try to speak to them in their language, don't be discouraged - this is not your fault!
Step 9: Practice in simple, everyday conversation situations
Many topics of conversation are discussed again and again in everyday life. Whether you eat in a restaurant, have a drink in a bar or go shopping, most interactions follow a similar pattern here.
If you are not yet confident in the new language, this is the type of conversation you should seek. Plus, if someone wants to sell you something, they automatically have more patience.
If native speakers find out that you are learning their language outside of these very standardized encounters, you will likely be asked where you are from and why you are learning their language. These conversations will help you build your confidence and make a good transition to more exciting topics.
Step 10: Travel as often as possible to places where the new language is spoken
It goes without saying that a long stay and a language course in the country where the new language is spoken is the best way to improve your speaking skills and take away your fear of speaking a foreign language. Whether you decide on a language trip, a volunteering program or a short break: Take every opportunity to travel to where the language you want to learn is spoken!
So, face your fear of speaking a foreign language and pack your bags: your language skills will definitely improve!
Face your fear and go on a language trip
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