How to be less shy when speaking a foreign language
Feeling shy is something most of us have experienced before when trying to speak a foreign language. Some of us feel anxious, not too confident and sometimes even scared. It’s all natural and it’s all part of the journey.
But there are some things you can do to overcome the shyness and feel more confident when speaking the language you’re learning.
I’ve made a video about this topic so make sure you watch it and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, which is where I post videos like this one regularly. If you’d rather read my tips, then scroll down and continue reading!
Focus on your strengths
The feeling of shyness or anxiety is sometimes caused by focusing on what you don’t know or can’t say. It’s caused by the realisation that you don’t have the vocabulary to explain something. Or that you can’t speak quickly enough. Or that you won’t be able to understand what the other person is saying.
If you want to overcome this feeling, the first step you need to take is to focus on your strengths and on the things that you do know and can say. You need to focus on the positives.
Realising all the things you already know and acknowledging them will give you more confidence and self-belief. And it will help you feel less shy.
On a practical level, this means, for example, being able to express your message using vocabulary that you know already to explain more complex ideas.
Accept the other person is there to help you
Your conversation partner is not there to judge you. They’re there because they’re interested in you and want to learn more about you. They’re interested in your message rather than how you communicate it.
They will also help you if you get stuck. They’re your partner and not your enemy.
Another thing to bear in mind is that your conversation partner will likely be impressed with your language skills. They might not speak a foreign language themselves. After all, you’re making an effort and trying to speak their language. So whatever level you’re at, you’re trying and that’s what matters. They should be grateful for that.
Speak before you’re ready
Anxiety and shyness can be made worse by waiting to say your first sentence. If you wait too long, it will often get worse and worse. You will feel more nervous and shy. Negative thoughts and self-criticism may start cropping up in your head. And at that point, it will be more difficult to fight them.
So the best thing to do is to speak before you think – speak before you’re ready. Say something – anything. It’s better than staying quiet and wondering whether or not to speak at all. That first sentence will show you that you can do it, that it’s possible. And it will give your confidence a boost. Only good things can follow from that.