5 Tips For Overcoming Your Fear of Speaking in a Foreign Language
One of the biggest challenges of learning a foreign language is having to eventually speak it – and to native speakers no less! We all dread the struggle of saying what we mean, not meaning what we say, or, even worse, not being understood in the slightest by our listener. But, whether you like it or not, speaking is a big part of the learning process and kind of the point of learning a new tongue anyway. Read on to discover 5 tips for getting over your fear and start speaking today:
1. Ease into it
One of the best ways to ease into practicing speaking with a native is by joining an online community. There are a plethora of sites out there aimed at language learners and you can make friends with people eager to help you practice your chosen language in exchange for the chance to put their English skills to the test. If you’re too shy to start speaking right away, just create a profile and start making friends and leaving comments for people. This will help you to work your way up to eventually having a conversation!
2. Talk to yourself
Perhaps your worst fear is that your thick accent or bad pronunciation may get in the way of you being able to hold a decent conversation with someone. If that’s the case, the best way to overcome this fear is by recording yourself speaking. Hold a conversation with yourself, or talk spontaneously about your day, then play back what you’ve recorded so you can pinpoint your weak points. Then practice, practice, practice and you’ll find the confidence to speak with actual people in no time at all!
3. Make some music
One of the best ways to develop listening and speaking skills is through music! We all love a good tune, so don’t be shy about using some of your favorite songs to improve your speaking skills. You can look up some great bands whose native tongue is the one you’re learning, or find people covering popular songs in other languages. Singing will also help to loosen your tongue and improve your accent, making speaking all the easier!
4. Give yourself 5 seconds
Many people believe wholeheartedly in the power of the 5-second rule. The idea behind it is that you give yourself just 5 seconds to walk up to someone and start a conversation. If you wait any longer, you’ll start to overthink the situation and will probably end up psyching yourself out (and never practicing any speaking). So, whether you’re asking for directions, talking to a store clerk, or chatting up someone in a coffee shop, force yourself to initiate the conversation quickly!
5. Go one-to-one
Once you’ve worked up the courage to have an actual conversation with someone, try to keep it one-on-one. Your brain will have to work overtime to understand everything your partner is saying and it becomes ten times more challenging if you’re in a group of people where the conversation is moving at a much faster pace. With a one-on-one partner you don’t have to feel intimidated or embarrassed when you make mistakes, and they’ll be able to take the time to correct you and help you along!
Learning a new language can be a challenging experience, but the benefits far outweigh all that hard work! If you don’t have a solid language foundation, you may find yourself struggling to hold conversations – regardless of how you go about it. Be sure to set yourself up for success by signing up for some stellar language lessons and use free placement tests to make sure your skills are progressing the way you want them to. Then take a deep breath and dive right in to the wonderful world of foreign language conversation!