Have you ever wondered how you can overcome shyness and speak a Foreign Language confidently?
Well, this guide is for you!
Let me start by telling you that I was incredibly shy and filled with fear when attempting to speak my targeted language.
So I’ve been in your shoes and that’s why I won’t hide the truth. I managed to beat my fear and now speak my targeted language with confidence and a smile 🙂
So how did I do it?
It was the simplest thing that unlocked my path.
Firstly, I want you to know that speaking a foreign language is a BIG deal.
I’m not the biggest of exhibitionist when it comes to people. I know what I want to say but sometimes cannot express it in words. And that goes for my native language too.
So trying to speak, think and construct a sentence in a foreign language frightened the life out of me. I was petrified of speaking, so what did I do? I avoided it as much as possible.
I’m sure you’ve heard and read ‘ The best way to learn a language is to speak it’
Not as simple as it sounds, is it?
I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read to pick up tips and where some worked for a short period of time, I kept coming back to square one – fear, shyness and anxiety!
For me – I hated the way I sounded in that foreign language even though I so badly wanted to evolve. And after a few knock backs, where people did not understand what I was saying, even after I repeated my sentence, I was ready to give up.
When it comes to a face-to-face with someone, I completely tensed up and although I knew exactly what to say, I could not for the life of me string a sentence together.
My confidence hit a new low and at one point, I thought this is not for me and the only OPTION I had was to abandon my mission, which made me feel like an absolute failure. And for someone who does not accept defeat, especially for something as simple as talking, I was disappointed to say the very least.
I ended up realising that I was the biggest obstacle to achieving my objectives.
I finally came to the conclusion that – I’m NOT going to let this fear beat me.
I took a pen and paper and started noting down, where and what the problems were and after working on myself over a significant period of time, I solved the puzzle and had a break through.
I’m going to save you the time and give you my tips for free to overcome your shyness.
With these, not only will you avoid the hassle that most learners experience but you’ll get back on track and accomplish your language learning goals FAST!
How to overcome your shyness
- Setting the schedule for the meeting
- Asking someone who you feel comfortable with to watch you speak your targeted language
- Pretending that no one else is around
- Stop caring
- Repeat what you are saying in your native language
Setting the schedule for the meeting
After the initial introductory stage of a meeting of a language exchange whether face-to-face, online or in a group, there needs to be system in place that keeps both parties engaged.
It’s after the first one/two meetings that most conversations start to fade away. So how can you stop this from happening?
Well, if you set out your objectives and understand those of your language partner, you can then go on to defining a schedule for your on-going meetings. That way, you know exactly what you need to prepare before each session and can practice ahead of time.
Not only are you taking control but you are also ready mentally. This strategy boost my confidence to no end. The other person was happy for me to plan, but you can also share the responsibility if it suits you both.
Asking someone to watch you speak
This is a great method for beginners.
Firstly, find someone who you are comfortable around. Now i’ll tell you why:
Because, if the person doesn’t understand what you are saying, not only will they be impressed by how well you actually speak (despite the errors) but there is no judgement at all.
However, if the person does or has some notions, they will give you the feedback you need. For example, my accent was terrible, when speaking to a native, they couldn’t make head or tail out of what I was trying to say. When speaking to someone who understands the foreign language, they transfer their own learning techniques to you. Which can be a massive confidence booster.
Pretending no one else is around
One of my favorite tips, which may seem like you’re a little crazy! However, works wonders 🙂
This is ideal for group situation. When you know there are eyes and ears everywhere. We generally seem to think, everyone is listening to you but have you ever considered, they might be feeling the same as you?
Honestly, as hard as it maybe to do, just pretend that no-one is around and it’s just you and that person. Just say whatever you need to even when there is a blank, continue speaking and if necessary repeat it twice, even three times if needed. Yes, you look crazy but it does not matter.
And if you just can’t, remember everyone around you is in the same position. They might have the capacity to hide it better than you but trust me nearly 80% of individuals feel the same or have felt this way at some point.
Which brings me onto my next point nicely!
Have you ever had one of those moments, where you are so fed up that you just don’t care?
Well, treat this as one of your moments, obviously in a civilized manner. Whatever, you are feeling, fear, shyness and anxiety, just move past it like you don’t care. Say to yourself, enough is enough and bypass the moment as if it really means nothing.
Once you stop caring about how you sound, you’ll see the other person really doesn’t either and that, either they are too pre-occupied in their own obstacles or they actually just find it normal.
Try it and find out, it can’t get any worse now!
Repeat what you are saying in your native language
I hear you asking, why would I do that? The whole point is to learn the foreign language and not talk in your native.
Allow me to elaborate!
I did this without even realising. And for a significant period of time no-one told me I was doing it. Can you believe that?
I now understand why. Because to the other person, when I made no sense in what I was trying to say, they understood the native version.
But the positive for me was, people kept filling in the gaps for me and I improved immensely. It was incredible.
However, this habit never left me and as I became more sophisticated in my speaking, I continued until a few people turned around and said,
‘We fully understood what you said in….(targeted language)’
Now, if you do continue repeating in your native language, it does not matter. The important thing here is you’ve learnt and progressed.
So, here are my personal best tips. Each and every learner is different and I advise you to adapt these methods and techniques to your own personal situation and learning style.
If you take anything away from this, just remember: Be free and creative as you need and do not worry about the rest. Nevermind if you don’t pick anything up the first few times, you will eventually. I did and I know you can too!