Are you interested in learning a new language but afraid of public speaking? 5 Steps to Enhance Foreign Language Speaking Proficiency
As has been taught and learned time and again, in order to master a foreign language, you need to practice, practice and practice. This entails lots of writing, spelling, and grammar study. But written practice alone is not sufficient. Another important aspect of mastering a new language is to practice it orally, especially in conversation with other speakers, much better if they're native. But how can you go through this if you are also deathly terrified of speaking in public?
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Here are five steps to help you overcome your fear of public speaking, which will then help your foreign language speaking skills as you practice more and more through oral conversation:
1. Test the waters:
Before going straight to the in-person route, you can first prepare yourself by attending virtual classrooms. You can sign up for an online class where you can have a personal tutor speak with you first through chat, and then through voice chat, allowing you to gradually practice your conversational skills behind the comfort of a computer screen.
Once you learn to speak and comprehend faster, you can move on from online conversation to real-time conversation which can be done through phone.
2. Set up a study group:
If you don’t trust your foreign speaking skills just yet and aren’t ready for some giggles (if you’re housemates are the giggly sort), set up a study session in your own room, the attic or better yet, the basement where the possibility of being overheard is less. If phone signal in the basement is a little too weak for clear conversation, a GSM repeater may prove to be handy.
If traveling or a place far away from home appeals to you more than the basement, there’s a repeater specifically created for cars. This way, you won’t have to worry about weak phone connection in some areas. Through your visits to online classrooms, you will meet other people who have the same fear of public speaking as you do, or are still too shy to speak in person but can manage phone conversations.
Once you've established your comfort levels with each other, you can thus be freer to practice speaking more as you're not too afraid to embarrass yourselves.
3. Get ready for the launch:
After all this preparation, your big day must come and you will have to put your learning to real-world use. This means actually going out to have a real conversation IN PERSON. You can finally attend real classes or even more exciting, visit France if you’re studying French (or Spain if it’s Spanish) or find a community of native speakers near your place who you can engage in your practice conversations.
4. Organize a mini event:
If you're scared to do it alone, you can gather some foreign language classmates you have met in your virtual classes and arrange an event in a place convenient for most of you. Here, you can all showcase your speeches to specially invited guests. These guests can either be native speakers of your chosen foreign language or language teachers.
Have a question-and-answer portion later, which will allow for maximum usage of your speaking skills. You can go all out by having your native speakers rate and give constructive criticism to each of you.
5. Have backup support:
Have your language teacher readily available through a GSM earpiece for you to feel less alone when reciting in public. A GSM earpiece is a nifty little device that you place inside your ear and wirelessly connect to your phone through Bluetooth. Your teacher can then coach you or encourage you when you're feeling extra anxious and are beginning to stumble.
Fear of public embarrassment should not stop you from making the most of your cultural education.
Public speaking may seem very daunting at first - even organizing a mini event is, too, especially if you have to accomplish these by using a foreign language you are just beginning to learn. But with the help of technology, the Internet and a lot of peer support, you can eventually get past your stage jitters and speak fluently without flinching in the spotlight.
About the author:
Maricel Rivera is a freelance web writer, blogger and online marketing professional specializing in writing web content and business promotion through guest posting.