Learning Spanish is a great benefit; there are over 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide. But when you’re just starting out learning how to speak the language, it can be intimidating to hold a conversation in Spanish with a native speaker.
As a Spanish speaker by birth who learned English at the age of 10, I can tell you from experience that keeping a conversation going in Spanish, or any other language foreign to you, with another person is the best way to immerse yourself in the language.
So, without further ado, here are five great tips to help you keep a conversation going in Spanish to help you feel comfortable when talking to native speakers
1. Ask Questions
I learned early on that asking questions is the best way to keep a conversation going. After introducing yourself to someone, ask them where they come from, where they grew up, or even what they were up to during the day. That will open up the conversation and make you, and your companion, feel more relaxed.
2. Listen Actively
It’s important to listen to what your companion is telling you, both because you want to continue the conversation as well as learn about your new friend. Make note of important details that they tell you and refer back to it when parting ways; also, remember their name and repeat it back to them during the conversation. This serves to both show them you’re paying attention to what they say and helps to remind you of their name if you should ever meet again.
3. Stick to Topics You Feel Comfortable About
This might seem like an odd tip but stick to topics you feel confident your Spanish is strong in, like families or non-controversial current events. This serves two purposes: it will reinforce what you’ve already learned about the language as well as introduce you, through conversation, to new words that you may not already be familiar with.
4. Watch For Body Language Cues
Body language changes from culture to culture and Spanish speakers are no exception to the rule. Known for being bold, boisterous, and intimate, it’s important for you to clue in on body language and mimic your companion in order for both of you to feel comfortable in conversation.
5. Keep it Simple and Brief
When you’re beginning to learn how to hold a conversation in Spanish, it’s important to keep those conversations simple and brief. Over time, your conversational skills will develop and you’ll be able to hold longer conversations, but for now, try keeping the conversations to less than five minutes until you’re confident in your Spanish speaking abilities.