Overcome the Obstacles that Stop You from Speaking




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Speaking a foreign language doesn't come naturally to everyone. Not even myself. Today, I'm talking about some of the common mental obstacles that language learners face that prevent them from speaking. I'm also going to tell you how you can overcome them and become more confident speakers. If speaking is a skill you have trouble with, subscribe to our channel! Lots of our videos are about how, when and with whom to practice speaking a foreign language. Turn on your notifications so you're the first to know about our newest videos. Now let me introduce you to some of my friends. Each person faced a different obstacle, but they all used to have trouble speaking because of these issues. See if you can identify with any of them. You might even realize that there are a few challenges holding you back. First up is Maike. She used to be very shy, even when speaking her own native language, German. So speaking English felt impossible because she lacked self-confidence. She would blow the prospect of one little English conversation way out of proportion, and convince herself that it wouldn't go well. She really needed to put things into perspective. What's the worst thing that could happen during a conversation in a foreign language? The stakes are actually much lower than you probably think they are. If you try out a new vocabulary word but pronounce it wrong and the person doesn't understand you, just try again. You might eventually have to switch to a synonym, but that's no biggie. Even if you accidentally offend someone, they will understand that you're still learning and that you didn't mean anything by it. Maike also needed to equip herself properly. All of the tools that I'll talk about throughout this video will help you gain the self-confidence you need to speak a foreign language. Next, I'd like you to meet Marco. He's Italian, so confidence is not an issue for him, but Marco is a perfectionist so he would stick to very basic sentence structures and easy vocabulary that he knew he would use correctly every time. The big problem with this kind of behavior is that Marco will never get better at his target language. Once he realized that his perfectionism was holding him back, Marco wrote "no one is perfect" on a sticky note and stuck it to his refrigerator as a reminder! Then, he started asking native speakers to correct him. Mistakes are actually our biggest allies. Being corrected usually makes us feel some kind of emotion, even if it's not a positive one. And associating a strong emotion with a new word is one of the best ways of remembering it. He turned his fear of being corrected into motivation! And now he creates new flashcards in his MosaLingua app for the things he gets wrong, so that he'll never make the same mistake twice. This is Marta. She is outgoing and she loves meeting new people and sharing her Spanish culture with them. But whenever she had to speak in English, she would freeze up. Marta used to get stressed out about two things: not understanding and not knowing how to respond. Marta gave herself some tools to reduce her stress: First, she made a list of some emergency phrases that she knows by heart and that she can pull out whenever she doesn't understand. Things like: "Can you say that more slowly, please?" and... "Can you spell that word?" If all else fails, you can always look up a word in your MosaLingua app. Marta also practiced using words she does know to get around a word she doesn't know or can't remember. If you've ever played the game Taboo you'll know that this can actually be a pretty fun exercise. If you tend to let stress get the best of you, like Marta, you can also try some deep breathing techniques. And sometimes it's helpful to limit your first conversations in a foreign language to controlled, "safe" environments, such as with a language tutor, so that you know what to expect. And, finally, meet Michel. He is known for being a bit of a pessimist. He used to think he would never succeed at speaking English, that it was just way too hard for him, so he didn't even try. This is essentially an attitude problem. If you're a pessimist, too, make an effort to concentrate on the good things. For example: make a list of all the great things that can come as a result of learning and speaking a foreign language. Focus on your progress and celebrate even small wins, like successfully introducing yourself in your target language. The more you speak, the more progress you'll make, which will do wonders for your attitude. So, if you're like any of my friends, I hope you know that you're not alone, and that there are plenty of ways to overcome the obstacles that are holding you back. I am confident that you can become a confident speaker. If you need an extra boost, our Speak English with Confidence Masterclass tackles all of these issues and more. I'll put a link with more information about it in the video description. See you next time! If you learned something new from this video, give it a thumbs up. Then, hit subscribe and turn your notifications. Have a look around our channel for more hacks and tips. And if you're watching on another social media platform, like or follow our page. See you next time!