Learning a new language can be a fun process. Yet, during this process, we may encounter some challenges that can disempower us from achieving the success that we hope to experience.
One of the challenges that can affect our motivation to continue learning a new language, is to speak the language to native speakers with confidence. Building the confidence to speak to a native speaker can be rather intimidating.
I can fully understand this. Because there was a time when I thought to myself, “Yes! I have given my best studying textbooks, reading flashcards, and understanding grammar structures. I have even repeated common phrases to myself and gained substantial vocabulary over the course of the semester. As such, I should be able to become fluent in time!”
Yet when the time came for me to speak to a native speaker, I froze. I was lost. The words just couldn’t come out of my mouth.
Those were the days when speaking in a foreign language to native speakers was a huge obstacle I’ve ever faced. My reluctance to speak the language I’m learning held me back from making the progress that I desired. It is no longer a huge obstacle for me, even though there are a few occasions when I was shy and worried about making mistakes. However, I have learned how to tap into my inner resources and to overcome the fear of speaking a foreign language.
The fear is real. Unless you find a way to empower yourself to be confident speaking a new language, such phobia of striking a conversation in a foreign language will rob you of the chance to improve your language ability and build meaningful relationships with people from all corners of the world.
In this article, I will share with you two techniques on how you can empower yourself to be confident in speaking a new language.
When you are shy and feel that you are unable to find the words to speak in the foreign language you have just learned, chances are, you are only lacking confidence. You know much more than you thought, and you definitely have what it takes to utter the words you have acquired. Your lack of confidence was likely due to your perception of native speakers themselves.
Perceptual Positioning is an exercise designed to help you gain a perspective on any given situation from three viewpoints.
First, you got to step into the shoes of the person (in this case, the native speaker) who is talking to you. Ask yourself if you have ever gotten angry with someone trying to learn your language. Or, did you want to help that person learn your language?
Perhaps you feel honored that someone is learning your language to communicate with you. Therefore, you know what it feels like to be a listener to learn something you don’t know.
Take those learnings and internalize these back into your own shoes. You can also simply dissociate, and watch (visualize) yourself and another person communicate with each other with some competence.
Thoughts of being incompetent will only bring you more incompetency. But you need to step into a realm where you feel competent and confident to make mistakes and be encouraged to speak often.
Ring of Focus
I am sure there was a time when you felt confident speaking the language you have learned. For instance, you might have felt confident speaking French with your classmates or teacher during and after French class. That probably made you feel good about your progress, didn’t it? This was what I call your “resourceful state”.
Such resourceful state fades away after a while and becomes part of your unconscious mind. Therefore, if you have not encountered such technique like the Ring of Focus, you will not be able to recall your resourceful state and channel that state to empower yourself to become fluent in any language you learn.
The Ring of Focus (or Ring of Power) helps individuals to get into a resourceful state almost instantaneously. It is a technique developed by Dr. John Grinder, which can help empower anyone in many circumstances such as:
- Public speaking
- Keynote presentation
- Taking an examination
- Negotiating business deals
- Dealing with difficult people
- Managing stressful situations
- Making difficult decisions
The Ring of Focus can also be used to empower you to be confident in speaking a new language.
First, you got to imagine a Ring of Focus in front of you as a circle about two feet or more in diameter, enough for you to step into it during the exercise. Anchor in (visualize) a number of powerful and positive emotions or results into the Ring of Focus (i.e. more confidence speaking to native speakers).
Next, close your eyes and recall a time in the past when you felt you were __________ (i.e. confident and highly enthusiastic speaking the language to anybody). Stay in that scene for a while. See what you see, hear what you hear, and feel what you feel back then. Increase the intensity of that feeling and then as soon as you feel overwhelmed with this positive resourceful state, step into the Ring of Focus and clench your fists!
Feel the positive empowerment from the Ring of Focus surging up to your head and then down to the rest of your body as you stay in the Ring of Focus. When the state begins to subside, step out of the ring and extend your fingers on both hands.
Repeated the steps from the beginning until you are completely empowered.
These techniques may be what you need to empower yourself to be confident speaking a new language and getting into conversations with native speakers. Practice them well, and as you get into more conversations to improve your language skills, your confidence will continue to grow.
Contact me for more consultation on how to improve your language acquisition skills.
For more questions regarding:
a) what language(s) you should learn to spice up your resume
b) the best ways to learn a language based on your unique learning style
c) boosting your confidence to master anything including languages
... you may contact me and I will definitely reply within a day!