We all know how hard it can be to have a conversation in another language. To start with there’s the fear-factor to take into account. We are all a bit self-conscious of saying the wrong thing, making mistakes or not being understood and this stops us from actively participating in a conversation. The most important thing to remember is that we will never have the confidence to talk to people if we don’t try and if we don’t try, we’ll never improve.
Here are a few ideas on ways of boosting your confidence when it comes to speaking to people.
1. Put yourself out there. Join a social group or a sports club. If you are interested in something it makes it easier to start or take part in a conversation about it.
2. Meet as many people as you can, in as many different situations as you can. The more you speak in English, the easier it will become.
3. Arrange a conversation exchange. If you know a native English speaker who is trying to learn your language, it is a good idea to have conversation sessions, these will benefit both of you in the long run.
4. Make a note of what is going on in the world. Read or watch the news on a daily basis. This gives you plenty of subject matter when it comes to taking part in a conversation.
5. There is a wealth of functional vocabulary and set phrases which will carry you through any conversational situation. Ask your teacher to help you with these. The more vocabulary you have, the easier it will be to express yourself and maintain and control a conversation, no matter what the circumstances.
6. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. It’s better to try and speak than to be held back by a fear of making mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected and in time, you will see that you are making fewer of them.
7. Be an active listener in the conversation. Listen carefully to what is being said. This will help you to put your thoughts in order and respond appropriately.
8. Don’t tie yourself up into knots. Try to express your ideas clearly. If you over-complicate what you are trying to say, you may end up losing track.
9. Familiarise yourself with pronunciation techniques such as stress and intonation. These are really important when it comes to getting your meaning across.
10. Believe in yourself. You can take part in a conversation if you really want to. You have the tools and the more you use them, the more confident you will become.