Do you feel uncomfortable when you have a conversation in Italian? Do you freeze before talking to someone? Do you go blank when you try to speak Italian with someone else? In other words, do you “suffer” from speaking blocks when you try to have conversations in Italian?
The very first conversations in Italian can be quite scary and intimidating. You want to give yourself a try and talk to people, but you sweat even just thinking about it.
You want to do it so badly, but something is stopping you. You don’t know what it is. You just know it’s frustrating.
You ask yourself why? Thinking that maybe there is something wrong with you.
But the reality is different.
These things happen simply because you’re not used to speaking.
Maybe you were thinking of some sort of deeper reason. Thinking that, maybe, you have a rooted problem that no one will be able to solve. But it’s actually a matter of habits.
Speaking is a habit, and like any other habit, it needs time before you can build it and make it automatic.
And even though you’re be tempted to start it straight away, right as it is, and all in one go, you need time, persistence, and a structured plan if you want to truly embrace it and make it yours.
Here is what you can do to overcome your speaking blocks.
First of all, you need to know which specific situation you would like to manage. This will be your end goal.
Now draw a scale of 0 to 10.
- Level 10 will be your end goal.
- Level 0 will be “doing nothing”.
Say for example that your end goal (so, level 10) is talking to your boss in Italian. If 0 is doing nothing, what could be a tiny step that would get you closer to your goal? Something really small that is a little bit more than 0 and that you know will take you in your direction. This is what you will put on level 1. It can be typing something in a group chat like my Italian Warriors Club members do every day.
Now, that you know what level 1 is to you, what could be a level 2? Something a little bit more challenging, but always small and manageable. Maybe, for you, level 2 is asking for directions or ordering a coffee.
And what could be a level 3?
Continue this way until you gradually build your path that will lead you to level 10: your end goal.
Now ask yourself: which of these situations is challenging enough but not overwhelming?
Choose the situation you would like to start from and then go out there and face it.
If, for example, you decide to work on level 2, which could be ordering a coffee, go to a cafe and practice ordering a coffee until you feel comfortable doing it.
Once you’re familiar with that, move on to level 3 (which could be talking to a cashier, for example) and repeat this task until you feel comfortable and confident doing it.
Then, do the same things with all the other levels until you reach level 10. Give yourself the time to stay on each level and allow yourself to feel a little bit uncomfortable. If you want to grow and improve, you need to step out of your comfort zone a little bit. And stepping out of your comfort zone means feeling a bit uncomfortable and accepting it.
Take tiny steps even though you feel scared. Take them while feeling your fear. The more you take them, the more fear will fade away.
Remember that speaking is a habit, and like many other habits, it will feel uncomfortable until it finally becomes familiar. You can overcome your speaking blocks, but this will take time, practice, and perseverance.
Now I’m asking you to take action.
Take pen and paper, draw a scale of 0 to 10, and decide which is your end goal and which tiny steps will lead you to that goal.
Then see where you are right now and begin to act on that level.
What situation would you like to face? What can you do right now that is challenging but manageable and that will lead you to your end goal?
Feel free to share your experience.