These tips will help you feel better about speaking English, Spanish, or Italian, for sure!
I'm not a super confident person when it comes to making new connections. That's because I'm a perfectionist.
I tend to worry about all the mistakes I could make. And I spend a lot of time previewing the conversation in my head so it sounds natural.
All that concern about how I'll sound to a native speaker means it takes me time to gather the courage to talk to someone.
At least it used to be the case. Now, at least most of the time, I feel more sure of myself when I speak another language.
That's because I learned three truths that have helped me become more confident.
1. It's better to say something and make a mistake than say nothing and regret it.
I used to spend too much time not saying anything. It got me into trouble a lot.
People in many countries I've visited either tried to take advantage of me for being too passive in speaking up for myself in Spanish.
And a lot of opportunities to connect with good people passed me by, too.
Now that I'm older and wiser, I know it's better to say what I'm thinking and not worry about it being perfect.
2. I can always correct myself later but only if it's truly necessary.
Most people aren't focusing on my mistakes. They're just there trying to communicate something with me and can get all the info.
Plus they'll just ask more questions if I'm not being clear.
But if they are focused on my mistakes, they aren't people I need to talk with.
Unless it's a person in authority, like a judge, police officer, or customs agent, that is. Then they want everything you say to be correct.
Thank goodness that doesn't happen too often!
3. I'll never get better if I don't put myself out there.
Honestly not putting myself out there stagnated my progress to fluency. I didn't get any better because I didn't try.
Not putting myself out there stagnated my progress to fluency. I didn't get any better because I didn't try.
I saw that I wasn't doing what I wanted—getting to know native Spanish speakers and forming new connections. And then I knew I had to do something different.
What was I doing living in other countries and not connecting with native speakers? I could just speak English at home the entire time instead if I was just going to keep quiet in Spanish.
It's worked for me in French and Italian, too.
I'm not fluent yet in Italian, but at least I try. I was so proud of myself for being able to argue with a shopkeeper who wanted to take advantage of me instead of just passively walking away and not getting what I wanted.
Same in French. I've had some people tell me they'd rather speak in English with me. But why am I in France if not to actually speak French with native speakers?
Old me would've meekly switched to English to please the person. New me says nope, I want to speak French. And I'm going to do it mistakes and all.
The moral of the story is to just go for it regardless of what the other person thinks of you.
Putting yourself out there and actually trying to speak your target language is the way you're going to learn. And the way you'll progress to fluency. Trust me.
If you want to feel more confident speaking Spanish, English, or Italian today, grab my freebies including my 15 insider tips for being fluent, the 30-day challenge, and much more. Download them now.
Jackie Amidon Donaldson helps women feel confident speaking Spanish, English, and Italian like a native in 90 days or less. She loves helping them achieve their goals by setting up their action plan for success, showing them the tools they need, and supporting them each step of the way. Jackie's the owner and language coach of Amidon Studios and has worked with more than 1000 women around the world.