#1 How to beat the fear of speaking your target language? Ans: Start sucky

Mar 21, 2021

They say one has to practice what they preach. And I always tell my fellow language nerds to speak without judging yourself. So, I’m practicing what I always preach: I started my first podcast: Language DriveThru.

Well, first off, I’m an extremely self-conscious person. I hate my voice. I think I sound stiff. I’m so much better off writing.

But I thought I’d jump outside of my comfort zone and move on to my growth zone anyway.

I know I’ll eventually get better and I also know can’t think my way to become a good public speaker.

I gotta do the work.

And language learning should be the same.

You gotta take baby steps and actually speak, if that’s your ultimate goal.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • a mental barrier you need to remove before you can speak better
  • a stress-free way to start practising your speaking skills as an introvert
  • a great tool that can help you practice speaking

Lastly, maybe the reason I started this podcast thing is self-serving: I treat it as a kind of therapy for me. But it can be one for you, too.

If so, let the healing begin!

Every Tuesday. Hop on the Language DriveThru, where I provide you with language learning advice in bite-sized chunks!



[00:00:00] Speaking. Oh, I know you're struggling with speaking when it comes to language learning, that's pretty much what everyone's been struggling with. I also know that when I talk about how to improve your speaking skills, you're all yours because it's something you can relate to. 

[00:00:16] Hi, I'm That Language Guy. I'm a language nerd with over two decades of language learning experience under my belt. I've also been working in a language service industry for nearly 20 years. After my decade long career as a translator and language instructor, I want to create a community of language aficionados like you. That's why I created this podcast, The Language DriveThru, where I provide you with weekly dose of language learning advice in bite-sized chunks. So if you're passionate about language learning, you're in the right place. Now sit tight and get ready for a weekly language learning delight right here in the Language DriveThru. 

[00:01:01] Hey, there language nerds, welcome to the Language DriveThru and That Language Guy. If you haven't already, subscribe to our podcast channel so you can get a fresh dose of language learning advice every Tuesday. 

[00:01:15] OK, well, let me be honest with you. I'm not the most eloquent person in the world and in fact, I'm quite clumsy when it comes to public speaking, be it in my native tongue or in a foreign language. And that's the number one reason that has been stopping me from putting myself out there, meaning it actually took me years before I decided to start this podcast and communicate with my people. That is you who are crazy about language learning. And then came a mentality shift. And it came after I went back to some of the very first episodes of some famous YouTubers or podcasters or some famous online personalities. And I binged watch their episodes and all of a sudden I realized that they weren't as good as they are right now. And actually there are many episodes where there are full of cringe worthy moments. 


[00:02:10] So that makes me realize that everyone needs to have some clumsy moments before they can actually improve and eventually establish a name for themselves. So that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I know I my trip and fall face first, but I also know that I have to start anyway, because I know that as I move along, I'll improve. But before that can actually happen, I have to start. 


[00:02:39] OK, so from my personal story, you learned that the first step to improvement is putting yourself out there and getting things rolling. Likewise, the first step to fluency is to speak. And you may go like, "Duh, that I know, why stating the obvious?" But let me assure you, knowing is drastically different from doing. So, you really have to roll up your sleeves and get to the actual speaking parts. And here's one simple yet overlooked tip to help you do that. And that is you have to give yourself permission to be silly, clumsy and stupid. 


[00:03:16] And that means you have to free yourself up and speak and make mistakes and learn from them. You don't want to get too carried away with the logic or how you sell like. In short, speak like crap if you have to. And the best way to do that is stop judging yourself and stop preventing yourself from speaking anything. And you have to speak right off the cuff and improve quality later. And again, don't fuss over coherency, grammar errors, pronunciations, etc.. The only thing you want to do right now is to get the darn things out first. The rest is irrelevant. Just break through the mental barriers and speak. And remember, the magic happens only when you stop being the most harsh critic of yourself. 


[00:04:09] Here's one simple exercise you can do. So you want to set a timer and force yourself to speak nonstop for an entire 30 seconds to one minute. During this time, you have to pour everything out, even if they don't make much sense. If you're run out of ideas, repeat the last sentence and go on. Now, I think I can hear say, well, it's too dangerous. What if I'm an introvert? Well, there's actually one way that I strongly recommend you try. If you think you're an introvert and it's a tool called a TTS system app. So what exactly is a TTS app? A TTS app is abbreviation for text to speech app. So it is basically an app that can hear what you say and transcribe it for you. So if you are using an iOS device, you can use Siri to do the job. And if you're on an Android device, you can use Google assistant or any other apps that you like. 


[00:05:17] Now I'm going to use the TTS app to transcribe whatever you say in your target language and enjoy the magic of seeing your own voice transcribed into words. And after that you can read through them and edit later on. So you can do a monologue or you can also do a role play. Either way, you don't have to actually talk to people. So it is a very good way for an introvert wanting to practice his speaking skills. 


[00:05:49] So let's look at monologues first. It doesn't have to be long and complete or one of the greatest speeches in the world. All you have to do is turn on your microphone and keep rambling on. And don't filter yourself. If you do not have anything else to say. Well, you can just stop any time. When you do feel like saying anything again, hit the record button again and speak. Alternatively, you can try doing a role play. You can do so easily by watching a drama or an interview and you just pretend that you're one of the person in the drama or in an interview and then you can listen to the person you're talking to and try reply anything in your own words. 


[00:06:38] OK, so that's the very easy and simple way I recommend you do. And lastly, I want to stress that you should avoid endless tinkering during your practice, because tinkering is a sign that you're struggling with self-doubt. I want you to have faith in yourself that you know more than you think you do. And I want to sum it up with a French expression which goes like "L'appétit vient en mangeant". It means the more you eat, the more you want to eat. Likewise, the more you speak, the more you want to speak. 


[00:07:16] Now, over to you. What's something that stops you from speaking your target language? Did you do anything to overcome that? Share with us in a comment down below. So did you like this episode? If you do, rate it and share it so more people can get to listen to it. And don't forget to come on over to my website, thatlanguageguy.com, where you will get a weekly dose of language learning ideas and occasional heart to heart in your inbox. And that's it for this episode of Language DriveThru. I'll catch you next time. 

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