When I asked Kamila to share her speaking tips in the blog, I knew she'd list some insightful observations you can put to a good use right away.
After all, she speaks 7 languages and inspires other learners with her videos, where she boldly shares her progress and shakes off the errors with laughs, persistence and amazing self-motivation.
Over to you, Kamila and thanks for being here!
Do you want to improve your speaking in Greek but you also feel insecure about yourself?
Do you feel scared of making mistakes?
Or is talking with strangers (especially in your target language) something that’s far out of your comfort zone?
If you can answer one of these questions with a “yes”, you’re at the right place.
I’ve been an introvert person and in the past, I found it hard to speak with others in a foreign language.
“What would they think of me? What if I say something wrong? What if they don’t understand me because of my accent?”, I used to ask myself many of these painful questions.
Speaking with native speakers is very important. Especially if you want to improve your speaking in Greek. But what if your thoughts are making you feel too insecure to approach them?
After years of practice and analyzing what makes people tick, I discovered some techniques to boost my self-confidence and some aspects that helped me build a better connection with the people I wanted to approach.
I’m thrilled to share them in this post as 9 tips you can use to approach native speakers with confidence and improve your speaking in Greek.
1. Discover the reason why you feel insecure
For everything that is withholding you from doing something, you can ask yourself, “Why?”. Why do you feel like this? What is the reason you feel insecure? Is it maybe because of a negative experience you had in the past? Or is it because of your accent?
If you really want to take action, grab a piece of paper and fold it into two sections. Open the paper and write the reason on the left section. Then:
2. Analyze your thoughts
Analyze your thoughts and give everything you’ve written on the left section of the paper a rating based on how relevant it is for you at this moment.
For example, if you feel insecure about speaking Greek with native speakers because you’ve been bullied in the past, this situation is not so relevant for you at this moment. You probably don’t talk with these people anymore and even if you saw them, they’d all be grown up and wouldn’t make fun of others anymore.
Or, if you feel insecure because of your accent, try to think of successful entrepreneurs who give great presentations and sell their products in English while it’s not their native language. If they can capture the attention of thousands of people even when they have a foreign accent, you can do the same.
3. Turn your insecurities into goals
Now, ask yourself how you can overcome your insecurity for each statement that you’ve written on the left section of the paper. This helps you define goals to work towards improving your speaking in Greek.
I’m afraid that people will make fun of my poor speaking skills --> I’m going to work on my vocabulary and film myself every day so that I see how I express myself.
This will help me have an interesting conversation with a native speaker soon.
4. Just do it (with tiny steps each time)
Overcoming your insecurities is a big goal. It’s not impossible to succeed but you need to take small steps every time. Define activities for yourself not so far out of your comfort zone so that you slowly get more self-confidence.
5. Look specifically for people with the same interests
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they want to be able to speak with everyone. However, you can’t have a great conversation with everyone because we all have our own preferences, different hobbies and interests, right?
When you talk with people you don’t have a lot of things in common, you may eventually lose your self-confidence and find it harder to approach new people. (Especially in a foreign language and if you’re a shy person!)
Therefore, it’s important to look for people who have the same interests as you. You can use language exchange apps like Italki and HelloTalk to find native speakers.
6. Prepare yourself
Nothing is worse than having an awkward conversation with a native speaker. That’s why it’s important to prepare yourself beforehand.
You don’t have to memorize everything you are going to say but think of interesting questions you can ask and topics you can talk about with the person. If your vocabulary is not so large, you can look up some useful verbs and words that you may need in the conversation.
7. Remind yourself : it’s okay to make mistakes
In school, when we’re taking exams, we lose points for each mistake we make. The more points you lose, the lower your mark will be. After years of going to school, people tend to avoid making mistakes. However, making mistakes is the way we, humans, learn new things.
Forget everything you learned at school and allow yourself to make mistakes!
Mistakes are fun, embarrassing (in a fun way), can help you create new memories, and help you remember things more effectively than when you would learn them out of grammar textbooks.
8. Most Greek people will be impressed by your speaking skills so far
Believe me or not but most native speakers will be impressed by your speaking skills so far.
Most native speakers don’t speak perfect English so when they notice that you’re putting effort into learning their native tongue and take the step to speak with them, they will be impressed.
They won’t nitpick your accent or grammar. They will help you and give you tips instead!
9. Show your interest in their culture
I can’t point out enough the importance of showing your interest in the culture of a native speaker.
This helps you connect better with them and improve your connection. They will like you more and show you their appreciation.
When you have a better connection with a native speaker, you won’t feel insecure anymore. You’ll gain more self-confidence and have the courage to speak with more native speakers.
If you want to improve your speaking in Greek, you need to discover the reason behind your insecurity and define goals for yourself to overcome this. When you also understand how you can improve your connection with the native speaker, this will eventually help you gain confidence too.
What do you struggle with the most when you want to speak Greek with a native speaker? Share it with us in the comments!