Do you get nervous speaking different languages? Whether you’re taking group classes, working 1-on-1 with a Spanish tutor, or taking advantage of online learning tools on your own, speaking is often the hardest skill to get comfortable with. Especially when you’re chatting with native speakers, it can feel like they’re talking a mile a minute!
But don’t let your anxiety get you down. Most tutors agree the best way to improve your conversational language skills is to push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone, and practice as often as you can.
We also like these tips provided by our friends at Extempore, a speaking practice app…
1. Use self-talk.
Choose a part of your day when no one is listening and describe what you are doing in the target language (I’m going to brush my teeth, I need a toothbrush, water, and I don’t know how to say toothpaste, I may look it up later). It doesn’t matter whether your grammar is good or not, or whether you’re at the level of just listing words rather than forming complete sentences. What matters is that your brain does the work of retrieving the words you need and transforming them into target language structures.
2. Create a support group.
Form a mini conversation group (maximum 3 people) with other shy people in your class or with friends who also take a class in the target language. Get together once a week to just talk. Again, don’t worry at all about grammar. If all of you are in the same classroom, you can use this time to do homework in the target language.
3. Let others know.
When paired in class with a student you have never worked with, let him or her know that you are super anxious to speak in the target language, but that you will do your best to complete the task. Believe me, most people will be supportive and understanding, and they will not judge how you sound or what mistakes you make (chances are they’re also experiencing some speaking anxiety).
Continue reading the post and find out the other two tips for language learners here.
Readers, do you get nervous when you’re speaking different languages? What tips have helped you? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.