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How to Get Over Your Fear of Talking with Native English Speakers
Lindsay: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 8: Deep Thoughts Thursday.
Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real native English conversation. Now here are your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel’, coming to you from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
In today’s episode, you’re going to learn how to get over your fear of talking with native English Speakers.
Gabby: Today we want to share a quote with you that has to do with language learning. And the quote is “Life is inherently risky. There’s only one risk you should avoid at all costs and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Lindsay: Hmm.
Gabby: Love this quote.
Lindsay: Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. What does ‘inherently’ mean by the way?
Gabby: Um, ‘inherently’ is like ‘really’. I think that’s the simplest word I can think of to boil it down, is ‘really’. The only thing that’s really risky, truly risky.
Lindsay: Yeah. Or just within itself, right?
Gabby: Without adding anything to it. It just is. That is the way it is. It is risky.
Lindsay: Yeah. We’re always taking risks in life.
Gabby: Yeah. I mean it’s important to take risks. That’s um, I think as they say, “no pain, no gain.” It’s kind of similar like you have to take a risk. You have to um, do something where maybe you don’t know the outcome.
Gabby: But that’s the way that you can have more gains perhaps. You don’t know what’s going to happen, but sometimes you just have to take a risk in order to make a – I don’t know to have a better outcome.
Lindsay: Yeah. And the best language learners that I’ve met have been people that take risks every single day.
Lindsay: Like they do something that makes them feel a little bit uncomfortable every day and that means in language learning and during a conversation or volunteering to answer a question in class.
Gabby: That’s what we’re talking about really is when you’re studying English, um, put yourself outside of your comfort zone and you know, try out a new expression, try out a new structure, talk to people who you don’t know and they could reject you and say “I don’t want to talk to you,” but it’s more likely that they’re gonna (going to) be nice and they’ll, they’ll respond to you and that’ll be a new interaction that you can learn from.
Lindsay: Right and just always think- what’s the worst that could happen if you screw up in any situation? I mean you’re not going to die.
Gabby: You’re right, right.
Lindsay: So take the risk and try it. Use a new vocab word or enter a conversation, like we said.
Gabby: Yeah. I think, um, you know, I’d like to mention some ways that you can actually do this. So, I mean asking for directions, asking for someone’s opinion, like “Hey, excuse me. Do you know a good coffee shop close to here?” Um, I always use coffee as an example, but um, or, you know, do you know where the nearest um, what, the nearest blah, blah, the nearest post office, the nearest ATM, the….similarly asking for directions, right. But what are some other ways that you could talk to strangers?
Lindsay: Yeah, I think those are great examples. And then also just um committing to attending certain events where you know you’ll have no option but to actually start those conversations, right? So committing to going to a meetup, saying “Okay Tuesday night is an English as a Second Language (ESL) meet-up. I’m gonna (going to) go, I’m gonna (going to) be there and I’m gonna (going to) communicate.” So just like putting it in your schedule and writing it down.
Yeah, so I went out last night and one man had an interesting strategy for going outside of his comfort zone. He was carrying a paper coupon, which said, uh, ‘free hugs’, so I’m not recommending this, but this is something that he did to just meet strangers. He would pull it out and he would show someone who he wanted to hug and say “Excuse me. I have this coupon, I would like to redeem for my free hug.” So there’s (there are) a lot of different ways. You can be creative. I mean it’s a little weird.
Lindsay: Yeah. I mean you can create some kind of an alter ego… Gabby: Yeah.
Lindsay: …and just sort of do that and get yourself out there. Whatever it requires – whatever it takes.
Gabby: Yeah. I like that idea of creating an alter ego actually because when you think of yourself as kind of an actor on the stage.
Lindsay: And you know they say life’s a stage, right?
Gabby: It’s less intimidating. It’s like well this is my English speaker persona and… Lindsay: Right.
Gabby: …you know she’s going to just be really outgoing and confident and you know meet five new people today.
Lindsay: It could be really empowering.
Lindsay: So experiment with that. Play around with that and see what you can, what you can do.
Lindsay: Great. All right.
Gabby: Thanks Lindsay.
Gabby: So we’ve made a special resource for you all. It’s an e-book with ten top ways to learn English with a podcast and you can get that e-book for free if you come to visit us at www.allearsenglish.com/free. So come on over and get your copy.
Lindsay: Thanks for listening to the All Ears English Podcast. We’re here to help you learn English and you can help us by leaving a five star review on iTunes.
See you next time.
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