Misbah is an Urdu native who can speak many different languages, including English, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, Saraiki, Persian, Arabic, etc.
In addition to Urdu, my native language, I am fluent in a variety of other languages, and I understand how difficult it is to begin speaking a new language. It's natural to find it difficult to start speaking a new language fluently and naturally when we first start learning it.
It's normal to be afraid of "not being understood," "making a fool of yourself," and so on. It's understandable and rational to feel this way, but remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, so be patient; you'll be able to achieve your goal by working on it gradually.
How Can I Overcome My Shyness When Speaking a New Language?
Stop fretting and get started tackling the problem you want to solve. Without feeling pressed, form your aim clearly in your mind, and inspire yourself every day. Here I am providing you with eight strategies to gradually overcome your shyness and begin speaking a new language with more confidence.
Remember that you do not need to be a flawless speaker to overcome shyness, yet it may be beneficial for you to improve your language skills to develop confidence. On the other hand, you will need to let go of the demands and worries associated with "what others will think of you." Let go of all of this and concentrate on being yourself and having fun in the process of learning and speaking a new language.
8 Steps to Follow to Speak Another Language Without Being Shy
Here are eight fantastic ways for overcoming your anxiety about speaking a new language. These tactics have helped me a lot, and I am confident that they will be similarly beneficial to everyone who wants to learn and speak a new language.
1. Explore your fear and your shyness
Shyness is typically accompanied by a fear of something: making a fool of oneself, being judged, being wrong... These worries manifest themselves most prominently during social interactions, when we may feel more watched, vulnerable, or even questioned.
As a result, one of the first steps I would recommend in overcoming shyness while speaking another language is to investigate the anxiety that lurks underlying shyness. Identify it, and write it down if necessary.
Above all, don't criticize yourself for feeling this way; it's very natural to feel nervous while speaking a language that isn't "ours." Look at your fear with compassion, and allow yourself to experience shame and everything that it entails. But know that with persistence and patience, you can overcome your shame! Let's have a look at how.
2. Identify your weak points
The second step that I propose to overcome shyness when speaking another language is to identify what is most difficult for you when speaking. Is it oral expression? Or understanding? Is it starting the first conversation? Or a continuation of the conversation? Try to determine where your difficulties are, your "weak points"; recognize them and get to work on them.
For example, if you find it difficult in oral language, try to practice at first at home alone, through an application to learn languages. The best way is to stand in front of the mirror and speak, it is the best way to overcome speech fears.
If understanding is tough for you, work on it through books, audio, TV, music, and so on. So, whatever challenge you face, remember that focusing on what is most difficult for you and beginning to work on it can help you acquire security and a sense of control.
3. Start by talking to just one person
If you have a hard time overcoming that initial shyness when speaking another language, you can try exposing yourself to the "dreaded" situation progressively. So, don't rush the first day to speak in public if that makes you anxious; shock therapy is great but in a more therapeutic context.
For this reason, I would encourage you to try to speak with only one person. If it can be, someone you trust, with whom you feel safer. You can also do it on an online platform if it gives you better security. In psychology, exposure therapy is the first choice for treating phobias (for example, social phobia) or shyness; This is why gradually exposing yourself to the situation can help you overcome that shyness.
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4. Sign up for a language exchange
Once the previous steps are done, try to increase the "difficulty" of the situation. Try signing up for a language exchange (language tandems), where the other person speaks in a language that you speak and vice versa. It is a good way to learn, progressively, and without the need of exposing yourself to the crowd. You can access people through the internet. There are websites where it is easy to meet people who also want to do a linguistic tandem.
5. Go to events where you can practice
Once you feel more confident, the next step may be to go to leisure events where you can practice the language in a more relaxed environment. Start by listening to the conversations and intervene with short phrases, to gradually let go. Remember: you have nothing to prove to anyone! Simply be yourself and strengthen yourself a lot of the steps you are taking, because you are moving forward, and it is not easy. Be kind to yourself and remember you are doing great
6. Focus on non-verbal language (body language and expressions)
To speak another language fluently, you don't always have to speak 100 % perfectly, without making a mistake. Remember that, when we speak, a large part of our communication is conveyed through non-verbal language (body language, tones, and expressions).
So, beyond the words, we also use expressions and tones to communicate, keep in mind the gestures, postures, smile, tone of voice... This non-verbal communication is as important to learn and practice as verbal communication.
7. Stay away from perfectionism and self-demand
Imagine a situation where you have met someone who does not speak English very well but makes an effort to make himself understood. Isn't it true that you would not think anything “bad” about that person? What's more important is that the person has expressed himself well, spoke to you with a smile, tried to communicate as best he could. You would probably think: "I listened to him and understood him, I felt good, even there were some language barriers."
8. Travel and practice abroad
Once we have carried out the previous steps (exposing ourselves to the situation gradually), we are ready to go a little further. Travel abroad and practice in a country where it is spoken; this is the final step toward mastery.
You'll notice how, little by little, you build confidence and realize, "It wasn't so hard." Also, when traveling, you may learn about another culture, and when you feel out of your comfort zone, you can start to practice changes in your way of being; move out of your regular "role" and start conversing! Even if it isn't "perfect," keep in mind that it doesn't have to be.
“All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.”
— Michael John Bobak
Overcome Your Fears!
Starting to speak another language that we do not master and that is not ours is not an easy task; In addition, wanting to master a language to get a degree is not the same as meeting and speaking with people, or simply as a hobby.
Depending on your aim or objective, you must develop a plan to attain it. Determine which one is yours and begin working on it. In this article, I have focused on overcoming the shyness that bothers us while dealing with others in a language that we have not yet mastered (or that we have mastered, but still feel insecure), whether in academics, work, or more playful situations.
How to Speak Any Language Fluently by Alex Rawlings
Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Misbah Sheikh