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This Is What Will Happen When You Start Learning Spanish

This Is What Will Happen When You Start Learning Spanish
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Most of us have studied or learned a second language sometime in our education, whether it was at elementary school, high school, university, or beyond.

For those of you fortunate enough to have learnt Spanish (or be learning Spanish), the benefits may outweigh those offered by learning other languages.

For one, Spanish is no longer considered a foreign language. There are 38 million people in the US alone speaking Spanish, and HIspanics will make up 30% of the population in the US by 2050. In addition, Spanish is spoken in 20 countries today, with 44 countries containing at least 3 million Spanish speakers.

Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language across the world, as such, you’ll know you are going to gain great rewards for the time you take learning to speak Spanish. Even the British are swapping French for Spanish; The British Council’s “Languages of the Future” report ranks non-English languages in order of importance for British citizens to learn, based on a thorough analysis of cultural, economical, and diplomatic factors. Spanish topped the list, followed by Arabic, French, and Mandarin.

Here are some other amazing things that will happen when you start learning Spanish.

1. You’ll open up more career opportunities

As the population of Latinos continues to increase in the US and around the world, there is a huge demand for individuals who can speak Spanish. And this demand will only rise faster than ever as Spanish-speaking economies continue to thrive ($6 trillion GDP), backed by the commodities boom.

This is especially important for those of us who want to work in business and the media, as in these industries it is particularly lucrative to tap into the market of over half a billion people who speak the Spanish language. English may be okay if you’re just buying something from someone, but doing complex business deals together is a completely different thing.

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In other words, learning Spanish will not only increase your chances of getting a raise at your current job, but it also opens up new career opportunities around the world.

2. You’ll become an avid traveller

One of the biggest obstacles we have when it comes to travelling is the fear of not being able to communicate.

When it comes to learning Spanish, you’re not just learning how to speak Spanish, you’ll also learn about the amazing culture and people behind the words from South America, Central America, Spain, and more.

You’ll notice the different accents, personalities, and the beautiful attractions that each country has to offer, and open your mind to a completely new world.

Learning Spanish will become not only a valuable education, but a global experience for you.

Spanish-Speaking-Countries

    3. You’ll be a more interesting person

    In today’s society, the knowledge of foreign languages is an attractive feature that many people truly admire — and for good reason.

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    We naturally associate individuals who understand another language with having more experiences with different cultures, being open-minded to new experiences, and simply being more interesting. For example, if you met two random strangers at a party, would you rather talk to someone who has lived in Washington their whole lives, or someone who has traveled and lived in Spain, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica in the past 12 months?

    Learning Spanish will allow you to gain experiences and knowledge that most only dream about experiencing, and will therefore make you a more interesting and attractive person to be around.

    4. You’ll be more outgoing and likable

    Language learning is not only about communicating in a foreign language, but it’s also about experiencing a new culture.

    The first reason is that meeting foreign people is embedded in the core of language learning. In order to practice and improve your new language, you’ll need to work with a native speaking teacher, use conversation exchanges, and/ or attend language meetups. This is similar to how you need to just ride the bicycle instead of watching videos about it; its just part of the process.

    The skills and experience gained from a conversation exchange include being more outgoing and sociable. This can have a positive impact on other areas of your life as well.

    Most importantly, learning a new language helps you step into the shoes of people different to yourself and see the world in a completely different way — therefore, developing empathy for others.

    5. You’ll improve your English/ native language

    Studies have shown that learning a second language can strengthen your language skills in your first language, including speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills.

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    When we think about it, it makes sense. Learning a new language like Spanish forces us to deconstruct every component of the language and learn it from the ground up. This includes accents, vocabulary, sentence structures, and so on. When we first learned our native language as children, it’s a skill that seemed to come quite naturally to us, or we hardly remember the language classes we took in elementary school.

    It’s similar to playing basketball your whole life, then learning how to play volleyball, and using those skills to improve your basketball game.

    “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”
    — Geoffrey Willans

    6. You’ll learn anything faster

    In a study done in Massachusetts (2007), researchers concluded that the “exercise in cognitive problem solving” through language learning can be directly applied to anything we want to learn.

    When learning Spanish. for example, you’ll be faced with different ways to conjugate verbs, and use new vocabulary that you’ve never encountered before, forcing you to solve a multiple problems in a creative manner.

    In brain imaging studies, scientists have discovered that bilinguals have higher density of gray matter in the area of the brain associated with vocabulary acquisition. Further research shows that your memory retention is also improved when learning a new language. Absorbing and retaining more information can significantly shorten your learning curve, because you can spend more time learning new information instead of re-learning something you’ve already seen before.

    7. You’ll make better decisions in life

    When you’re learning how to speak Spanish, you’ll be constantly making small decisions, such as forming sentence structures, experimenting with new words that you’ve never used before, and trying to understand what the other person is describing to you.

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    A study published online in the journal, Brain and Language, showed that multi-lingual individuals were better at filtering out competing words than monolingual individuals. This ability to tune out competing words benefits in blocking out distractions in order to focus on the task at hand.

    The best news of all this is that Spanish is easy to learn, especially if you work with a professional Spanish teacher. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much experience you have in learning languages, you can achieve your goals with a little bit of help.

    In fact, research has shown that even those of us with minimal knowledge of a secondary language can reap the advantages of the benefits we’ve mentioned in this article.

    With the abundance of options available today to learn or re-learn your Spanish, from language learning websites, books, audiotapes, and mobile apps, there’s no reason to wait to get started!

    how to learn spanish

      More by this author

      Sean Kim

      Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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      Last Updated on July 20, 2021

      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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      You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

      Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

      Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

      Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

      1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

      According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

      “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

      Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

      Warming up

      If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

      If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

      Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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      1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
      2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
      3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

      Stay hydrated

      Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

      To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

      Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

      Meditate

      Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

      Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

      Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

      Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

      2. Focus on your goal

      One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

      Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

      Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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      Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

      If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

      3. Convert negativity to positivity

      There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

      ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

      It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

      Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

      Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

      Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

      4. Understand your content

      Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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      However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

      “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

      Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

      Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

      One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

      5. Practice makes perfect

      Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

      In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

      Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

      6. Be authentic

      There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

      Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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      Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

      To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

      With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

      Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

      7. Post speech evaluation

      Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

      Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

      We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

      You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

      Improve your next speech

      As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

      Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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      • How did I do?
      • Are there any areas for improvement?
      • Did I sound or look stressed?
      • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
      • Was I saying “um” too often?
      • How was the flow of the speech?

      Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

      If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

      Reference

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