English is not my first language.
I’m Italian and, when I first moved to the UK, I was struggling with speaking English.
I used to have a case of sweaty armpits and stuck tongue every time I was about to have a conversation in English with someone new.
My train of thoughts, every time I was about to speak, would be something like this:
“Will they understand me and my accent?”.
“How can I say this?”.
“What if I don’t get what they say after?”.
These thoughts were on a loop in my brain.
And they would make me so nervous that, once I’d start speaking, I’d make so many silly mistakes that I myself couldn’t believe that it was me speaking so…badly!
Then, I started doing one thing that end helped me to overcome this fear of speaking.
I actually started “preparing” myself before a conversation.
Every time I knew I had to talk to someone, I started preparing myself beforehand by imagining the sort of things I could say and also the sort of things that the other person could say to me!
Before having the conversation, I would look up words I needed and even create little scripts (either in my mind or by writing them on my phone!) that would help me get my point across.
Doing this helped me gain confidence in my speaking and stay present during the conversation (because I was not going on on in my mind about how bad my English was!).
Eventually, I was able to go into a conversation without needing to prepare at all!
I was struggling with speaking English as a foreign language. And I know that there are many people out there that are struggling with speaking Italian as a foreign language.
So, I HAD TO SHARE MY PERSONAL TRICK THAT WILL STOP YOU FROM STRUGGLING WITH SPEAKING IN ITALIAN (and any foreign language, actually!)
Next time that you know you’re about to go into a conversation with your language exchange partner, or with another speaker of the language you’re learning, and you don’t feel confident about your language skills, take some time to think and jot down what you’d like to say first. Create your conversation script!
Here are some steps that can help you prepare for your conversation
- Visualise the conversation: what are you saying to the other person?
- What key words do you need to communicate that idea? How would you say those things? Write them down on the notebook app of your phone. Write the way you’d say them. Don’t worry too much about mistakes here. Write the words you don’t know in your own language and try to keep things simple. Sometimes you can say the same thing with easier words (that you actually know in your foreign language!)
- Is there any word or phrase that you’re not sure about? Any words or phrases you really don’t know and need to convey your message? Use wordrereference.com to look up words you don’t know. Is there any word or phrase you’re not sure how to pronounce? Type it in Google translator and listen to its pronunciation.
- What would you say if the other person say something back to you that you don’t understand? Write down your personal S.O.S. phrases to ask for help or clarification.
- What would you say if the other person would speak back to you in your own language and you’d really like to continue in theirs? Write it down.
- By the way, in my ebook, “How to Speak the Language you love”, I have a worksheet that shows you how to create your first conversation script. You can download the ebook right here completely free.
This conversation script exercise is so powerful and helpful to do even when you don’t actually have an upcoming conversation. It will develop your confidence in using the language and finally become fluent in it! Here’s why:
1. It will force you to use the language in a creative way, and stimulate your brain to make powerful connections that will store the language in your long term memory (BIG DEAL!!).
2.By creating these little scripts and dialogues, you’ll be using the language in a specific context (example: buying food at a supermarket and asking the shop assistant for advice or help) which, once again, makes it easier for you to recall it when you’re on the spot.
3. If you love writing, you can get carried away with it and have lots of fun, which is the number one way to learn effectively and remember what you learn.
4. Repetition is the main way to become confident in something. If you create a conversation script with the aims of rehearsing it with someone else (e.g. your language exchange partner) , it’ll make you more confident user of that language.
So, today promise me you’ll put aside 10 minutes and create a conversation script, a little dialogue in Italian (or another language you’re learning) to practice it in a creative way.
And if you need some help to create your conversation scripts in Italian as you’re about to travel to Italy, I have a resource that is perfect for you!
It’s called Italian Conversation Guide for Travellers!
The Italian Conversation Guide for Travellers is a bundle of resources that will help you get the vocabulary and the confidence you need to get you through your first conversations in Italian.
It includes two core resources: 60+ sets vocabulary flashcards (Italian into English) and The Conversation Workbook with 20+ conversation scenarios and also ready made conversation scripts that you can use as a model to create your own!
It also includes four bonus resources to help you practice the Italian you’ll learn by using the flashcards and the workbook. Because everyone loves bonuses, right?
The four bonus resources are: the How to Use Quizlet guide, the Essential Italian Grammar guide, the Language Exchange Finder (to help you find someone cool to practice your Italian with), the Facebook group Italian for Travellers (where there’s also me to help you! YAY!). You can learn more about the Italian Conversation Guide for Travellers by clicking right here
Honestly, I could go on and on about this, as I put all my heart and soul into creating this resource to help Italian learners like you to develop their conversation skills. Yet, I believe that facts speak more than words.
If you click right here you can try the Italian Conversation Guide for Travellers for FREE. And if you like it, this coming Sunday I’m going to open the carts so you’ll be able to purchase it right here.
For now, enjoy the free trial and I can’t wait to hear about your learning experience in the comments below.