Ordering your food in flawless Spanish at a restaurant… Impressing your in-laws or Spanish-speaking family with an interesting and thoughtful conversation… Chatting away in Spanish at a bar…
What an amazing experience that would be… if only you weren’t so nervous every time you had to speak Spanish, right?
If you’ve ever felt tongue-tied, if you have ever decided NOT to order in Spanish, or reverted to English because you were just so nervous to speak and afraid of making mistakes… but afterwards, you were kicking yourself for not being a little more courageous…
Then I, Juan, Spring Spanish teacher, have come to your rescue! I will give you 5 tricks to CURE THAT NERVOUSNESS, so you’ll finally dare to speak Spanish and live the experiences and adventures you’ve secretly been longing for…
For some of these tricks you don’t even need a conversation partner… And for some, you don’t even need to talk! How is that possible? Let’s find out how it works!
1. Paso, pasito (Baby steps)
Part of why you get nervous is that you might feel you’re not skilled enough in Spanish yet.
Bueno, la buena noticia es (Well, the good news is) there are many little tricks you can use to get that confidence you seek, little by little… I have 5 of them for you:
- Trick 1: escribir (writing)
Here you have the advantage of having the time to think about what you want to say, and you also have the possibility to look words up, all while not having the pressure of a native staring at you, waiting for you to say something.
¿Mi consejo? (My advice?) Chat with your Spanish-speaking friends through mobile apps. Write a short story. Send an email or read an article in Spanish and then try to explain it with your own words… OR script out dialogues you’d have in real life in Spanish!
- Trick 2: Habla contigo mismo (Speaking to yourself)
Fluency comes with practice. Bueno, ¿adivina qué? (Well, guess what?) You can also practice by speaking to yourself!
Pro tip: Before having a conversation with a native, practice the whole dialogue in your head, talk to yourself out loud, or pretend you’re having a phone conversation with someone in Spanish.
Bottom line: you’ll feel much more comfortable when speaking if you are prepared and if you know what you say will sound like.
- Trick 3: mensajes de voz (voice messages)
Now, with so many apps and platforms where you can use voice messages, you don’t necessarily have to actually engage in a conversation to practice your Spanish!
Voice messages give you la oportunidad de practicar lo que vas a decir (the opportunity to practice what you are going to say), without the pressure.
You can also delete a recording that you are not happy with, and you can script out your message and even read it to feel more comfortable.
- Trick 4: conversaciones cortas (short conversations)
Take it easy with your first conversation. No tiene que ser de una hora (It does not have to be 1 hour long). You can also just speak with someone for only one minute. This way you can stick to a topic that you feel comfortable with and then slowly ease your way into longer conversations.
- Trick 5: Habla con alguien interesado en que aprendas español (Speak with someone interested in your Spanish learning)
Instead of starting to speak with strangers or someone who does not have the time to speak with you, speak to someone who is more invested in your success. This could be a family member or a Spanish-speaking friend.
It could also be a Spanish tutor, like the ones we have in the Spring Spanish Academy on our website.
2. ¡Practica, practica, practica! (Practice, practice, practice!)
Having said all this, todo mejora con la práctica (everything improves with practice). The more you practice speaking, the better you get at it and the less nervous you will be when speaking. Tan simple como eso (It’s as simple as that)!
Hablando de práctica (Speaking of practice): If you need more material to learn and use, subscribe to our channel! We publish 5 lessons every week, where you’ll get a lot of content in Spanish you can use to practice!
My homework for you
So, I have a special request for you, una pequeña tarea (a little homework): I want you to try out 3 of these tricks this week and let me know in the comments which ones you tried and how it worked for you… in Spanish, of course! I’ll make sure to check them out!
Also, if you have any other tricks that have worked out for you to get rid of your nervousness when speaking Spanish, let us know!
Now that you know how not to be nervous when speaking Spanish, I have something super special for you! Did you know that you can pretend that you are fluent in Spanish long before you actually are?
Polyglots (people who speak many languages) actually do this all the time! Imagine how much that’ll reduce your nervousness… Intrigued about how this works? I have prepared an article where I teach how YOU can do this too!