How can I stop "short circuiting" when put on the spot? | Ask Benny | Forum

How can I stop "short circuiting" when put on the spot? | Ask Benny | Forum

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How can I stop "short circuiting" when put on the spot?
December 2, 2012
20:59
OliviatheHarper
Oklahoma/Turkey
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July 11, 2011
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So I tried Verbling a few days ago, figuring it would be a great solution to my problem of not having anybody to consistently practice speaking my target language with me. I've enjoyed my experience with it so far and plan to continue using that site, but while using it, it occurred to me that I need to improve my conversational skills.

After reflecting on what I need to do to improve my conversational skills in my target language, I think one of my main problems is that I don't speak as well when put "on the spot." I can string together sentences just fine if I have time to think about it, but when I have to immediately come up with a response, it seems like my brain kind of "short circuits" and I end up not being as smooth with my speech.

This isn't only a problem when speaking other languages. It happens even when trying to speak my own language. For example, if I'm working on a school project and someone comes up and asks me what I'm doing, I would most likely respond with a blank expression and, "Uh..." and then I feel embarrassed for not being able to response promptly.

So my question is, how can I help myself with that problem and get to where I can speak with others more smoothly?

December 3, 2012
10:55
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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July 15, 2011
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Hey Olivia! I believe that you are putting way too much thought into this. Who cares if you don't respond right away? Unless that person is in a huge hurry to use the bathroom or something they can wait patiently for your response. 

The fact of the matter is language learning isn't about speaking when it is convenient, it's about constantly being put on the spot. It's about being thrown into the deep end of the pool and slowing learning how to swim. It's part of the experience and when the day comes you are confidently spouting out words and phrases and understanding 99% of what was said you will look back and think "It was totally worth getting a bit uncomfortable"

When you're working on a school project I am assuming that you are also immersed in it and incredibly focused on it. The same goes for anyone, when I'm rock climbing and someone tries to ask me a simple question in my own language my response is usually a "wha, wha...(deep breath)...what?" Why is that? Because I am completely involved in my current project (in this case route). 

Don't be embarrassed, people (at least 99.9% of them) are not impatient bastards! If they took the time to speak with you I'm sure that they can afford several seconds for your response smile

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
December 3, 2012
10:58
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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July 15, 2011
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Smoothness comes with practice and muscle memory. Keep practicing and continue to jump out of your comfort zone. 

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
December 3, 2012
12:14
OliviatheHarper
Oklahoma/Turkey
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Forum Posts: 2
Member Since:
July 11, 2011
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Thank you both for responding. It makes sense that I may be putting too much thought into it; I tend to over-analyze sometimes. I think another factor was just being nervous. It was my first time using the site, and was a bit nervous about talking to random people I'd never seen before. Now that I know what to expect, I'll probably feel more confident next time.

December 3, 2012
12:41
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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Forum Posts: 499
Member Since:
July 15, 2011
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OliviatheHarper said
Now that I know what to expect, I'll probably feel more confident next time.

There you go! cool

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
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