Here’s a hypothetical situation that has all the chances to be real.
Let’s say you are passionate about live streaming. You have an outstanding idea for your streams, and you know that there’s an audience for it. But there’s one stipulation that doesn’t let you move forward with your idea – your target audience primarily speaks English, and English is not your first language.
As a result, the fear of being misunderstood, falsely interpreted, and, worst of all, laughed at. It doesn’t bring your awesome ideas to life.
What Is Foreign Language Anxiety?
The fear of speaking a foreign language, or foreign language anxiety, is the feeling of worry and uneasiness that you experience when forced to speak a different language.
Also known as xenoglossophobia, this anxiety is the reason why students can seldom speak a foreign language when they are out of the classroom.
The reason why students often hit such a block is that they get used to a teacher who will always back them up if they forget a word or a grammatical construct, and who knows how the stranger will react to it. So, students are like flowers that you’ve grown in your house and then replanted outside of it – they go through the stress of adjusting, and it doesn’t always go well.
Why Does Foreign Language Anxiety Inhibit Our Ability to Communicate So Much?
The core reason lies within the differences that take some time to get used to. Research shows that when we get into a socio-cultural context and have to face cultural differences we’ve never experienced before, all these factors produce anxiety.
The lack of confidence is also a contributing factor that can trigger the fear of speaking a foreign language. Especially with English that has over 1 billion native speakers around the world.
How Can Speakers Overcome Anxiety While Live Streaming?
Enough science, let’s talk about facts and real tips on how livestreamers can overcome the fear of speaking English.
These tips will work differently with everyone depending on how well you usually deal with anxiety. But we encourage you to give all of them a try.
1. Remember – It’s Just You and Your Camera
One of the reasons you’re experiencing the anxiety of speaking a foreign language before a livestream is that you know you are going to be watched by a lot of people.
That’s true – anyone can join your livestream and potentially mock your accent or your manner of speaking. But dealing with the hate is the whole other topic.
Here’s the thing – no matter how many people are going to watch you, right now, you are alone in your streaming room. It’s just you and your camera.
So, if you find yourself shaking and nervous because thousands of people are going to watch you, shift your focus to the fact that there’s nobody around you right now, and, most of the time, you’re going to talk to your camera or yourself anyway.
2. Write a Script of Your Livestream
If the previous tip doesn’t work for you and the idea of being watched sticks around like a troublesome fly, you can invest a bit more time into preparing for your livestream.
In general, doing some planning before any significant event can help ease anxiety.
For instance, this trick works for people who have severe travel anxiety. Dr. Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., says that prior planning gives you a sense of control and helps you manage your fears easier and even eliminate them.
So, if you are anxious about your English, you can prepare a short script for your livestream. This script can include:
- An introduction of the topic
- The progression with which you are going to discuss the topic (subsections, secondary topics)
- A short glossary of terms connected to the topic of your livestream
If your livestream is limited in time, consider how much of it you want to dedicate to each subsection of the topic. Have your outline or agenda right in front you during the show as well. This way, it will be easier for you to follow the train of thought and stick to the information you want to cover.
3. Switch Your Focus to Other Goals
If you still find yourself uneasy about speaking English in front of the camera, think of other goals that inspired you to start livestreaminglive-streaming in the first place.
For instance, you’ve chosen livestreaminglive-streaming as a way to earn income online from donations, monetization, referral programs, and so on. In this case, being a bit mercantile won’t hurt anyone. On the contrary, it can be a great factor to help you push through your anxiety.
One more goal you may be pursuing with your livestreams is to help others. For instance, you are trying to raise money for your local charity or promote it online. This is a powerful goal to reach, and it can be very motivating. So, if you find yourself worrying about your lack of English-speaking skills, switch your focus to the needs of those who are going to benefit from your livestream.
4. Realize that Not All English Speakers Are Good at It
There is a big chance that you worry about your English-speaking skills because you are a perfectionist. You think that every English native speaker is great at speaking their language, so until you hit that level, there’s no point in embarrassing yourself during the livestream.
As you learn English more and more, you’ll notice that, sometimes, native speakers also make mistakes in their livestreams. Also, English is rich in dialects, so there are many deviations in terms of vocabulary and grammar.
If you’re afraid of being judged by a native English speaker, why not ask them for help right away?
Acknowledge that your English is not perfect, but you are trying your best. If you make mistakes along the way, ask your English-speaking audience to correct you in the chatroom or comments. It’s very unlikely that anyone is going to judge you in the process. On the contrary, most native English speakers will notice and appreciate your effort.
Don’t Work Yourself Up to Failure Right Away
It’s good that you’re so self-aware and always want to improve. But there’s such a thing as being too self-aware when you reprimand yourself for every single mistake.
If you recognize yourself here, keep in mind two things – practice makes perfect, and thoughts create feelings.
First of all, you cannot excel at something if you’ve just started. Keep practicing, ask for help, and be open to suggestions. Then, you won’t even notice how quickly you’ve improved.
And, if you start your live stream with the thought that you’re a failure, don’t get surprised if all your efforts are in vain. Instead, think about this: your lack of English-speaking skills can be a factor that helps you create a united community of supportive followers.
Now go ahead and bring your livestreaming ideas to life! Sign up with BeLive to further practice your speaking skills.
Marques Coleman is a content writer, an English teacher, and an avid supporter of remote education. For this purpose, he helped to create a database for teachers and students, where they can get interactive lesson materials and make the learning process more engaging.