Have you ever been to a wedding where a toast goes on… and on… and on?
Usually there’s one reason this happens: it wasn’t planned. They figured they could wing it.
But it’s hard to speak off the cuff about something we’ve never talked about.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this. The more you’ve spoken about something, the better you get at that topic.
And if you fumble over your words when discussing something new in English, you don’t automatically assume you’re “bad at English”. You’d just think, “this isn’t a topic I know very well”. Since you’re newer to Spanish, there are way more topics that you don’t know very well.
That’s why I want you to think about speaking Spanish (for now) like you’re giving a speech.
You wouldn’t walk to the front of the room with no rehearsal, plan or bullet points and expect to give a great talk.
You would consider your opinions, write down key points, and practice.
If you take a similar approach to Spanish practice, you’ll gradually build more confidence for different conversation topics.
Here’s one strategy I like for Spanish speaking practice:
You’ve probably heard that speaking to yourself is worthwhile. But it’s hard to know what to say, and this solves that.
In last week’s Saturday Spanish, I shared 17 Spanish journal prompts to build fluency.
Having already covered a topic in your journal, I described this as the perfect time to practice speaking. You’ve already done the prep work. You’ve considered it, uncovered vocabulary, and written down key points.
Here’s how to turn your journal entry into speaking practice:
Step 1: Answer a journal prompt
Take 5-10 minutes and write down your answers to the prompt. When you come across a word you need but don’t know, you can either:
- Find a way around it
- Leave it blank and look it up after writing so you don’t interrupt the flow.
You can see the prompts from last week’s newsletter here.
Step 2: Grab a voice recorder
Use your phone’s built-in recorder — Voice Memos on iPhone or Voice Recorder on Android.
Or use https://vocaroo.com/
Before speaking, click record.
This way you’ll be able to listen back, assess yourself, and look up the words you were missing.
Step 3: Start speaking
Talk out loud in Spanish about your journal entry topic.
Don’t stop when you come across a word you don’t know. Instead, say it differently or say it in English. You will come back to it in step 4.
Step 4: Listen back
Listen to your recording. Do you hear any obvious mistakes? What sounds did you have trouble with? What words were you missing?
Look up the words you needed and write them down.
Step 5: Repeat the speaking once more
The first time you talk about something is the hardest. At this point, you’ve gone through it once, assessed yourself, and uncovered some words you need.
If you stop here, you’ll forget most of it. You need to act on feedback as fast as possible.
To do that, it’s simple: talk about it again. Same topic, same bullet points, same ideas. This time, things will flow better.
It’ll be like giving a wedding toast you actually rehearsed for.
You might not have time to do it all in one day. That’s fine! Adapt it to fit your schedule.
The point is this: with (a) preparation and (b) repetition, you can make speaking Spanish easier.
One thing you might be wondering:
“Are you saying I need to prepare for and talk about every topic on my own before speaking with a native speaker?”
Nope! While practicing one topic, you also build general fluency that helps you with the next topic. You use structures that apply to other situations, meaning words will flow better.
That’s all for today – ¡Que te vaya bien!
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