“I can write, read and understand Italian well but the real issue is when I have to speak!”.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this sentence. This is what a lot of people tell me when they contact me for speaking practice but it is also what I am told by my students and what I read in comments and messages here and there.
Studying a language is quite “easy” when it comes to learning grammar rules, memorizing vocabulary, practicing listening, or reading pieces of text. You can do it when you are relaxed, when there is no pressure of time or anxiety, and you can really take your time to do exercises slowly, without anybody “judging you”.
But things are really different when it comes to speaking. When you speak, you don’t have much time to think about sentences and words, you have to put together a sentence in a reasonable amount of time and usually with someone in front of you waiting for you to say something.
This is scary, I know. It’s one of the scariest things because, when you are standing in front of someone and want to say something but nothing comes out of your mind, you start feeling dumb and your anxiety goes up, making things even more difficult for you.
Unfortunately, I don’t have tips for that. The only way to improve your speaking skills is by speaking. There is no other way. You have to overcome your fear and start speaking. You have to stop thinking about what others think and let words come out of your mouth.
Will some of those words be wrong? Who cares? If the people you are talking to make things difficult for you, it’s their problem, definitely not yours. Don’t let other people deprive you of the great experience of communicating in a foreign language. You are doing something amazing, always keep that in mind.
However, problems of self-confidence aside, I know that practicing spoken Italian if you don’t live in Italy is not very easy. You are not immersed in the language and, most importantly, you are not forced to use the language in your daily life. You can always tell yourself that you can practice speaking Italian later, one day in the future, while you keep studying other areas of the language.
Actually, let me tell you that the right time to practice your Italian conversation might never come and you might end up in Italy without the skills to handle a simple conversation, even if you have been studying the language for a while.
I could help you with my 1-on-1 Italian chats but that service requires time and commitment, and sometimes it is not so easy to find them, in our busy lives. But also, maybe you don’t feel like chatting with someone for 30 minutes or one hour because you still don’t feel confident enough to do it.
This is why I have created something much easier and relaxed, a way to overcome your fear of speaking Italian or just feel more confident when you have to handle a conversation. Something that is fun, doesn’t require much time, and forces you to practice the language a little every day: it’s a challenge!
I have decided on a challenge because it is a way to make you practice Italian every day but at the same time, I wanted to make it easy and short to avoid any pressure or anxiety, so that you can approach your speaking fears, if any, in a calm and relaxed way.
The challenge is called Pausa Caffè and I have chosen this name because a coffee break doesn’t last more than ten minutes and this is exactly the amount of time you need to work on this challenge daily. And the challenge lasts one month only: ten minutes a day for one month, I am sure it is absolutely doable for you!
I wanted to create something easy, fun, a little challenging but not time-consuming at all. This is why I will send you a video every day, which you need to reply to in video or audio form. It won’t take you more than a couple of minutes to watch the video and you will need more or less the same amount of time for your answer.
You won’t need to have specific software for that because the program I will use to record and send you videos gives you the chance of replying back, either in video or audio form.
Each video will contain a very simple question, about daily life and other very common things, so that you can easily come up with an answer without doing much research or losing a lot of time. In every video, I will ask you a question but I will also answer that question, giving you examples and ideas for your own video or audio reply. Plus, I will also reply to all your audio and videos with comments and tips.
But let’s see things in detail.
How does it work?
It’s super easy: you sign up to Pausa Caffè and you get a video every day for one month. Each video will contain a question for you and an idea for a possible answer. You have to reply to that question – in audio or video form – with your answer. I will then watch the video and reply back to you with comments or suggestions.
When does it start?
It starts on February 1st and ends on February 28th. In that period, you will get an email every day with a video recorded by me. Each video will never be more than 2 minutes long, so that it will super easy and quick for you to watch it. I will use VideoAsk, which is a platform that gives you the chance of chatting via asynchronous videos.
How much does it cost?
It’s called Pausa Caffè and it doesn’t cost more than one coffee a day: it’s 35 USD, which is more or less 28 Euros, so basically 1 euro a day – exactly the cost of coffee in Italy!
What will you get?
– the chance to speak Italian consistently, every day
– a safe and relaxed environment – your own home – where you can speak freely
– tips and recommendations to improve your speaking skills
– a bit more confidence when speaking Italian
– Pausa Caffè is a challenge to make you speak Italian daily, for a month
– it begins on February 1st and ends on February 28th.
– every day you get a video with a question that you need to answer with a video or audio file
– for every daily answer you send me, you will get a video reply from me with a comment or a suggestion
– it costs 35 USD, which is exactly the cost of a daily coffee for a month, here in Italy
– it is available this February only, so grab it while you can!
You have time until January 31st to sign up. If you have questions or need more information, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. SORRY, THE CHALLENGE IS CLOSED! IT WILL BE BACK SOON.