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6 Obstacles You Will Face When Learning a New Language (And What To Do)

6 Obstacles You Will Face When Learning a New Language (And What To Do)

Like anything we want to achieve, language learning is a long journey to go through. Many surveys show that the reasoning why never reach fluency is not because of age, talent, or resources. It’s because they quit too early. While there have been several studies of the major benefits in acquiring a new language, such as improving your memory and delaying dementia, we’re all human after all.

For those of you learning a new language, you’ll go through several inevitable obstacles during your journey, and it’s better to be prepared to face them before they come.

Here are 7 major obstacles you will face and how to overcome them.

1. Frustration

Frustration is the first stage that you’ll experience in the learning stage, and it’s perfectly normal. This state of frustration just means you’re stretching your comfort zone and pushing yourself further than before. However, this is when so many of us quit because we don’t immediately “get it.”

Once we realize that upon getting past the frustration stage that the learning process becomes enjoyable and fun. Frustration is only a temporary state that we feel, and what separates the successful individuals versus the unsuccessful is the ability to get past this stage.

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The key is to take it step-by-step, instead of overwhelming yourself with a massive challenge. If your goal is to become a fluent Spanish speaker (and you have zero knowledge), then your first goal should be as small as memorizing 10 of the most common words. From there, give yourself a treat or celebrate your small wins, and this will trigger your brain to crave more of these progressions. Then learn 20 words, and so on…

2. Lack of interest or purpose

While most obstacles could be easily cured through simple solutions, the lack of purpose or interest can only come from within you. Without an internal desire to learn something, no amount of money, resources, and strategies can help you get to the next level.

You might want to try a free language course. For example, in this one they cover what is called the Ultimate Goal Setting strategy, by answering questions like:

  • What opportunities will become available by speaking fluently?
  • What would I do if I could speak this language fluently right now?
  • How will I feel after reaching fluency?

Perhaps you could have a deeper connection with your partner or family member who knows another language. You could get a raise at your current job or open yourself up to new and amazing career opportunities with your new language. You can finally move to Spain or travel around South America with ease and comfort, creating deep connections with new people you meet.

Whatever your goal may be, make sure it excites you!

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3. Cost

While money does not equal happiness, it is certainly a problem for many people when it comes to learning a language.

At the same time, with anything in life, you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that free solutions are ineffective, but if you’re looking to see serious and lasting results, then the fastest way to do this is through immersion with a native speaker (preferably a professional).

The best part is, this doesn’t mean purchasing a $1,000 ticket to fly to South America or Spain. With the advent of online technology, immersion learning can be brought to the comforts of your home — right to your screen. Online platforms like Rype, provide you with language coaching for as little as $1/day, while matchmaking you to a personal language coach that will work one-on-one with you to accelerate your learning speed.

4. Lack of time

Time is the most valuable commodity that we never seem to have enough of. Having more time to learn a new language is a struggle for many of us, with our normal jobs, social life, and family to take care of. And when we do manage to find those extra few hours in our day, the last thing we want to do is get in our cars and drive to go to language school or meet a private tutor, right?

Truthfully, we only need to carve out an extra 30 minutes per day (or less) to learn a language, and the simplest way to do this is to eliminate commuting. Most of us are still learning a language in-person, which requires anywhere from 45-60 minutes on average that is spent on solely commuting!

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Instead of taking a bus to the nearest Starbucks in your local city, why not look for a teacher online that will allow you to avoid the commute in the first place?

5. No growth

If we don’t grow, we become stagnant. This means we have to constantly be improving, consistently be getting better, and always growing our knowledge. Think about the last time you went on a long hike. While the final moments may seem like you’re walking in one place, the moment you look back, you realize how far you’ve gone.

This is what we need to do with language learning. Seeing how far we have come with our skill set will be the fastest way to motivate ourselves out of frustration, disappointment, or whatever state we’re in that leads to giving up too early.

If you’re working with a professional teacher or coach, ask for a monthly report of your progress, or even record yourself every month and watch how far you’ve come. Even noticing the improvement of your accent, or the confidence you have when speaking the foreign language can give you a boost of energy and excitement to sustain your growth over the long run.

6. No accountability

This applies to not just language learning, but everything from health and fitness, nutrition, business, and more. The top athletes and business leaders pay coaches millions of dollars per year, sometimes solely for the psychological edge it gives them, knowing that someone is there to keep them accountable.

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Think about how much more motivated we are when we go to the gym with a partner, rather than ourselves. It’s just how the human mind works. After surveying dozens of language learners, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s why free mobile apps like Duolingo don’t bring lasting results, because there’s no incentive or motive to continue.

Languages are meant to be learned and experienced with fellow humans, there’s no other reason to learn it in the first place. It’s also how we’re best kept accountable. Whether you’re just beginning your journey or at an intermediate level, find an accountability partner who is a friend, family member, or an online coach to help you achieve your end goal.

If you’re still looking for a language coach, head over to Rype and get started for free!

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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