¡SORPRESA! ¡Esta es tu primera conversación en español! (Surprise! This is your first conversation in Spanish!) Are you prepared? No? You will be after reading this article / survival guide!
If for some reason you still don’t feel confident enough to tackle your first real conversation in Spanish, I’ll give you not 3, or 4, but seis trucos para sobrevivir a tu primera conversación en español (6 tricks to survive your first conversation in Spanish)! With these tricks under your belt, you’ll finally stop shying away from conversations and get out there to the Spanish-speaking world.
Primero lo primero (First things first):
Our #1 tip for you to not only survive, but THRIVE in Spanish conversations… and one we use in all our videos is… learning chunks instead of words and grammar.
We won’t go into too much detail about that in this article; instead, I invite you to follow this link, it will take you to our website where you can learn how we teach our students to speak Spanish fluently through a 4-step method called Conversation Based Chunking. You won’t need any grammar rules and looong vocabulary lists… that I can assure you!
With that being said, here are 6 other survival tips you can start using right away!
1. Choose a topic beforehand that you can practice
For your first conversation in Spanish your specific goal is very simple: Topical fluency. This means: focus on learning how to talk about one topic at a time in Spanish. Once you feel comfortable conversing on that topic, move on to the nextone!
So, start by choosing out a topic you like or you’re good at first. I’d suggest starting with something easy first and work your way up. Después de todo (after all), it will be easier to start talking about the weather than how the orbital gravity of Jupiter affects the tides in the northern seas.
Después de todo is an expression that works great to wrap up an idea and a way to gather some thoughts in Spanish, so it's a great chunk to learn by heart for your upcoming conversations.
Notice also that in English you don’t use a preposition (after all), but in Spanish you say después DE todo! This shows again that you can’t translate literally between Spanish and English (and memorizing grammar rules won’t help you much in this case either…), so you’re better off learning these chunks by heart as a whole.
- Al aprender español, hazlo con calma y no te presiones tanto. Después de todo, un idioma no se aprende en un día. (When learning Spanish, take it easy and don’t push yourself too hard. After all, no one learns a language in a day)
2. Listen to as much as you can about this topic
We’ve said it before, and you’ll hear me say it again: Listening is one of the most powerful tools you have when learning a language! Listening will educate your ear, pronunciation and comprehension of Spanish, since you’ll become familiar with how Spanish speakers sound and you will learn new words and chunks just by paying attention!
And now that you have chosen a topic, start listening to related content:
- Si escogiste música, empieza a ver shows de música en español. (If you choose music, start watching Music shows in Spanish)
- Si escogiste deportes, empieza a escuchar cómo hablan los deportistas (If you chose sports, start listening to how athletes talk).
Si escogiste política, entonces sigue escuchando a los deportistas ¡porque nunca aprenderás nada bueno de los políticos! (If you chose politics, then keep listening to athletes because you’ll never learn anything good from politicians!)
3. Write out a list with words and chunks you might need
Preparation is key! So, start doing some research for chunks and vocabulary related to your chosen topic. A great way to do that is to subscribe to our channel and hit that little bell, because in our 5 weekly Spanish lessons for free, from Monday to Friday, you’ll get plenty of chunks and vocabulary for all kinds of topics in Spanish, of course!
4. Keep the list handy during the conversation
Now that you have followed all the other tricks and have your list completed, it’s time to practice! Before doing that, make sure you have that list with you! That will help you look up words or chunks you forgot or didn’t learn at the moment.
You might not even have to do anything, since trick number 3 will help you memorize them all, so at least it will boost your confidence to have your good Spanish companion in your pocket!
5. Practice the conversation with yourself
So, now that you have prepared yourself, give your hard work a little test drive: Habla contigo mismo, practica contigo mismo (Talk to yourself, practice with yourself).
Get some You time and get those chunks rolling! If you feel a little self-conscious, go to a nice safe spot and do it. You can do it in the shower, the bedroom, or even the balcony, as long as you start listening to yourself and start spotting areas of improvement or where you need better pronunciation.
It works great, trust me! I do it all the time!
6. Set a time limit on the conversation
It might happen that una conversación en español (a conversation in Spanish) sounds like a big bad monster for some people, but that might be because we imagine a long very dense dialog.
Well, instead of panicking, think about this: Manténlo simple (Keep it simple)! If you limit that first conversation to only one or two minutes and a specific topic, it won’t feel so hard or daunting anymore! Once you feel comfortable, you can start adding some complexity to the mix, but walk before you run, you Spanish learning Usain Bolt!
So, what do you think? Are you ready to overcome that first challenge and start putting yourself out there in the Spanish-speaking world? Are you ready for your first conversation? Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you think I should cover.
Meanwhile, I’ll leave another one of my articles, where I give you all the basic Spanish chunks you’re going to need in ANY conversation, like how to start and end a conversation and some basic small-talk… the essentials, basically! You should read it right now!