How to Deal With Stressful Listening Situations

Apr 7, 2017 | 5 comments

Let’s face it – listening is one of the most difficult skills to master when you’re learning a language.

 

When you read and write, words are on the page in front of you. They don’t go anywhere. You feel secure and comfortable.

 

When you’re listening, words come out of someone’s mouth and then they disappear. If you don’t catch them, you don’t know what you’ve just heard. You feel scared, nervous and awkward because it seems impossible to keep up with the spoken language.

 

When I first moved to France and I had to make phone calls, it was both a mental and linguistic task. I had to check a few words in the dictionary if I was calling my landlord about a problem in the apartment, or a utility company (gas, electrics etc).

 

Once I’d dealt with the linguistic part, I still had to overcome the mental obstacles.

 

  • What if I don’t understand them?
  • What if they don’t understand me?
  • Maybe I should just send an email

 

I used to rehearse what I was going to say to feel more confident. But it still took me a few minutes to feel brave enough to pick up the phone, dial the number and then hopefully understand.

 

I know you’re in the same place I was a few years ago. You’re doing the work. You read my blog so you’re going beyond just listening and you’re actually trying to understand by doing dictations, shadow readings, practising understanding weak forms. All the practical things I talk about here.

 

So, I decided it was time to go beyond the practical and focus more on the mindset side of things.

 

I’d like you to meet Sabrina from www.calmenglish.com, another online teaching colleague who helps professionals improve their spoken fluency and develop a more native sounding accent.

Why is her website called calm English?

 

As you’ll discover in this interview, Sabrina uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to help her students become more fluent.

 

If you think that’s some New Age, hippy rubbish, think again. You can use these techniques without becoming a Buddhist monk and meditating for hours every day.

 

In fact, as you’ll find out, you can take just 10 seconds a day to become more mindful and present in what you’re doing, including with your English.

 

You’ll discover

 

  • Some common misconceptions about mindfulness and meditation
  • How to bring meditation into your daily life without dressing like a Buddhist monk and sitting cross-legged on the floor saying ‘ohm’
  • How you can use meditation and mindfulness to deal with stressful listening situations
  • Why you have to do the practical work first and then prepare the mind for these techniques to work
  • How you can use these techniques to deal with scary moments like not catching a word
  • Why perfection in spoken English is an illusion and how imperfection makes you sound normal
  • Why it’s normal and healthy to ask your conversation partner for clarification, especially in professional situations
  • What culture has to do with all this, especially in international teams

Useful links

Some of the links we mentioned in our chat:

Headspace

Meditation timer

Positive Thinking: Everything you have always known about positive thinking but were afraid to put into practice by Vera Peiffer

More about today’s guest

 

Sabrina coaches business professionals to finally speak English fluently at Calm English. She believes that language is a tool we can use to reach professional goals and see big, adventurous dreams become reality.


If you’re ready to be a successful English speaker, speak English fluently, get the jobs and promotions you deserve and see your life improve with English get started with her free mini-guide to speaking English fluently here.

Blog post image photo: this is a photo I took on a trip to Japan last year. I find it very calming to look at! It’s a zen garden at the back of a temple near Yanaka cemetery in Tokyo.