Giving A Talk In A Foreign Language – To Fear Or Not To Fear?

My heart is thumping, my legs are shaking nervously. I can feel the adrenaline rushing through my whole body. Just a few more minutes to go. A last quick revision of my notes. It is time to accept my fate. I approach the podium and wish myself to a place far, far away.

Okay, full stop. What is happening?

Over the last few years and weeks, I’ve had countless situations where I had to stand at the front and, hello Erasmus life, speak in languages that were not my native tongue. Double trouble? Well, it is definitely time for some reflection on something I can’t run away from. And I wouldn’t want to.

Because, as Kelly Clarkson knows, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have been thinking a lot about where this nervousness may come from.

  • Is it my language skills? No. I have reached a point where I feel perfectly comfortable using and switching spontaneously between Spanish and English.
  • Is it the fear of saying something wrong or not being good enough? Maybe. I mean, of course I want to do my best and the high expectations I have of myself definitely put more pressure on it.
  • Is it the other people that make me nervous? That could be it. But why? Especially in the university we are all in the same boat and can usually expect moral support from each other.

Basically, there are no problems. University is the best place to practise speaking skills, because we will never be so protected. Knowing how to present yourself and foreign content in a professional, relaxed and appealing way is vital for our future careers. So why not use the chances we are given instead of trying to avoid them?

obama-speech

HE has a reason to be nervous.

Images: pixabay.com

 

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