There’s so much involved when learning a language. You’ve got to know your vocabulary, use the right grammar, pronounce the words correctly with the right intonation. To get to an intermediate level takes a lot of effort, but to become an advanced speaker takes a tremendous amount of dedication because of how you must immerse yourself in the culture of that language.
So language learning is a journey that you’ve got to be committed to if you want to reach your goals.
But what about when you need that result now? When you’re in front of another person and you’ve got to get your message across and understand where they’re coming from.
You’ve got to be able to use your current skills to get the job done! You’ve got to get over your mistakes and your desire to be correct. You must be able to get past the words and focus on the communication.
If you’re too busy thinking about how to be correct then your quality of listening will go down and this will affect the motivation of the person you’re talking to. If you’re more interested in demonstrating your language proficiency, then the person you’re talking to will quickly lose interest, (unless the explicit purpose of the conversation is to practice your language together).
The person that you are speaking with will be either waiting to receive critical information from you, or be wanting to transmit critical information to you. If you’re too busy using them as conversation practice, you’re going to miss the opportunity to make that connection.
Here’s 5 steps for how to get over this difficulty and always get the most out of every conversation.
Firstly, know your purpose. What are you in the conversation for and what do you want from the other person? What’s your role? What do you have to offer and what do you want to receive?
Secondly, make a clear distinction between when you’re learning and when you’re are communicating. Don’t turn the other person into a teacher, but do let them help you when you need it.
Third, focus on creating a clear channel for the communication to take place. It’s a real live human being in front of you. Pay attention to the individual who is in front of you. Be present and the language will flow on its own.
Fourth, know that whatever level your language is currently there’s always room for improvement. Even in our native tongues we don’t get everything correct all the time and we use idiosyncrasies which you can only learn from experience which we cannot learn in a classroom setting.
Fifth, allow your communication to flow. Don’t speak language, just express yourself. No one is marking you for correctness except yourself. Giving your expression space and let the person in front of you remember you not for how well you have done your learning, but for your interest in them.
Practice these steps towards ever fruitful conversations.
P.S. Please leave a comment below and let us know your experience of finding your self-expression in another language.
Khalil S. Patwa
Accelerating Your Language Journey