“I struggle with speaking!”
“I lack of practice.”
” I can’t actually speak this language despite I’ve been learning it for a while.”
If you identify with any of these statements, you’re in the right place to sort your problem out!
Far too many language learners procrastinate on speaking as they feel they are not ready, not good enough or too scared to just give it a go from day 1. Or they simply have no idea how to create the opportunities to speak the language they are learning.
As they don’t live in the country where this language is spoken, they feel that they are doomed and won’t ever be able to speak that language fluently.
So not true. And I’m the living evidence of this!
I managed to become fluent in Spanish not by moving to Spain, but by making friends with Spanish people in my town and by start speaking to them in Spanish only!
That’s one way of how I did it and today I’m going to share 8 ways!
1.Go to places nearby where there are speakers of that language
Think. Are there any places in your city or town where there are speakers of that language ? Could you go there at least once a week and start joining in events or visiting coffee shops, libraries or any other public place where you can approach people living there? Make a list of places and start going to those places to get to know people. Be brave. I know you can do it.
Are you racking your brains and you can’t think of any place where this language is spoken near you? Then move on to the next strategy which is…
2. Take a speaking challenge
Record a video or an audio yourself and post it on social media to get feedback. My friend and expert language teacher, Jonathan Huggins from Huggins International, hosts every month the 30 days Speaking Challenge. Once you join you’ll get a prompt every day to practise your speaking skills. You’ll also get to meet other like minded language learners, get feedback and also have some fun learning. The new challenge is starting on the 1st of June, and you can join right here completely free.
3. Set yourself a mission (+ reward)
This is a way to push yourself not only to use the language but also to improve your use of it. For example, you could set yourself a mission to have at least three conversations in the language you’re learning over a week. Or you could set yourself the mission of using new vocabulary items (some that you’ve just learned) in an upcoming conversation in order to consolidate them in your brain.
I use missions in my Italian for Travellers course to motivate my learners to use their newly gained language skills right away. Missions really works – especially if there is a reward attached to them!
4. Get a script
Create a conversation script that will get you through your first conversations. It’s ok to have one, and it’s ok to look at it if you need to. I used to have conversation scripts on my phone too when I first started learning English; in my ebook, “How to Speak the Language you love”, I have a worksheet that shows you how to create your first script. You can download the ebook right here completely free. Pinky promise.
5. Know your S.O.S. phrases
I call S.O.S. phrases those phrases or sentences that allow you to ask for help in the language you’re learning every time you don’t understand, don’t know a word or get stuck in a conversation. I’m talking about sentences like “non ho capito” (I didn’t understand), “parla piú lentamente” (speak more slowly!) and the like.
These phrases are so helpful that I teach them in my Italian for Travellers course and we use it during role plays. I have also created sets of flashcards featuring some of these S.O.S. phrases in Italian, Spanish and French. You can grab them right here for free. These S.O.S phrases used at the right time are a real life saver and help you get through your first conversations without being too much worried about not knowing a word or not understanding what the other person has said (because you know what to say, if it happens).
6. Use the 5 seconds rule
I’m borrowing this tip from Mel Robbins as every time I’ve used her 5 seconds rule I have done stuff that brought me out of my comfort zone and got results!
The 5 second rule can help you every time you are about to do something uncomfortable (like starting a conversation in the language you’re learning!) and your brain will try to trick you into not doing it as it sees it as a “danger”.
When you’re about to initiate our conversation and start feeling a pit in your stomach or getting sweaty armpits, here’s what you need to do: acknowledge that your brain is trying to protect you from experiencing discomfort; tell yourself there’s no actual danger and you’re about to embark on a learning experience; start counting down 5…4…3…2…1… and speak up!
The counting down will calm your brain down and you’ll take action!
7. Join a conversation club in your local area or online.
Meetup.com or Facebook have loads of groups with learners that are learning you same language. Run a search and see how many you can find. Join them and find someone you can meet up with, either face to face, online on Google hangout or on Skype to have a proper conversation with. By the way, speaking of Google Hangout,I’m having a free Italian class this coming Sunday where you can get to speak some Italian. Want in? You can book your free place right here!
8.Create your own conversation club
If everything fails and you can’t find a ready made group or place to practise the language you’re learning, be the initiator!
Start your own conversation club and find out where other people that learns your language hang out, either in your local area or online. Think about libraries, universities, blogs, forums, Facebook groups…you have so much around you.
In this article right here I speak about how you need to think outside the box in order find the perfect language exchange partner for you. There is also a worksheet that can help you generate ideas about where you can find him or her or them! Use it!
Your objective is to start speaking the language you’re learning as soon as possible, if you want to become fluent in it fast. I talk by experience. So promise me, after having read this article you’ll implement one of the strategies above!
Over to you now…
DO you have any strategy that has helped you speak the language you’re learning from day 1 regardless of the fact you don’t live in the country where it’s spoken? Tell me in the comments below.
And if you’ve found this article helpful, don’t forget to share with all of your friends. It would mean the world for me!