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Speaking a language does not have to be scary


But it will feel scary if you are not prepared to make mistakes and if you think your sentences and accent have to be perfect in order to speak.


Perfection - as I keep reminding my students, as well as podcast listeners - stops us dead in our tracks. And in the case of language learning, it's one of the biggest obstacles that students face, as I detailed in an earlier post.


Making mistakes is an integral part of learning to speak a language. The sooner you accept that fact, the quicker you will speak and actually enjoy the learning process.


Making mistakes does not mean losing face, because you're having a go. If there's one mistake that should be avoided at all costs, it's that of not trying, of not speaking, because you're not sure or you think you're going to sound ridiculous. You never do!


Why? Because no one is judging you. In fact, invariably, the only person judging the process is... the student! Since English is so ubiquitous, native speakers in non English-speaking countries are grateful and charmed by the fact that you are learning their language. Why wouldn't they?


Communication is what matters first and foremost. When the energy you use worrying about how you sound, and if anyone will understand what you're saying, goes into actually putting sentences together, then not only communication happens, but you quickly become more confident and say more, and more, and more!


Fear is paralyzing, while speaking a language is about being in the flow. Judging how you speak, means you're on the outside looking in, as opposed to being fully engaged in the talking, which is infinitely more satisfying.


With the right tools, methodology, and guidance, fear soon becomes a distant memory. But it's a choice students have to make. The choice to put the right effort into learning the language, to trust the teacher and the process, but more importantly, to trust themselves.


Don't hesitate to send me your questions.


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