Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
It might be obvious, but remember that it is impossible to master a language without going through a learning phase punctuated by mistakes. French speakers you meet know that French is not your mother tongue and will, in no way, play you for the mistakes you make, whether in vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation.
On the other hand, most people admire foreigners who try to learn their language. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes: it’s by speaking French on a daily basis that these fears will disappear, social interactions allowing you to correct any kind of error over time.
Start with simple words and sentences
If you are a beginner wishing to speak French in public, it is strongly recommended to start with relatively simple sentences and grammatical structures.
At first tit will not be possible for you to express your thoughts with the same accuracy as if you were using your mother tongue: take time to enrich your vocabulary and master the French conjugation before launching into philosophical debates!
As a beginner, with an elementary or low intermediate level in French (A1, A2, B1), remember to use simple words instead of complex verbal constructions. Those will come in time!
Speak French with your friends
In order to gradually overcome your shyness, start by speaking French in a familiar environment, whether with your French-speaking friends or possibly close colleagues or even members of your family. A strategy that learners resort to intuitively, since we all know we won’t face judgment while in our safe space.
Practicing in familiar situations with people you can trust will allow you to gradually increase your knowledge before you can surprise natives with your language skills!
Slowly step out of your comfort zone
Because indeed you will sooner or later have to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, gradually increasing the complexity of the situations you chose to face. If you are a student, you can for example join conversations in French if you feel that your level is good enough to participate in the exchanges.
Group conversations are generally faster and more energetic, therefore requiring higher language skills. But facing new situations is an excellent way to assess your autonomy!
Remember that while technology offers many resources for learning French, nothing beats stimulating human interactions that will allow you to overcome your shyness for good.
Read, write and enjoy movies
If you want to learn French, you will need to read, write and listen. Of course, reading novels in French – French literature is known for its richness – is a great way to develop your vocabulary and your understanding of grammar as well as conjugation.
But don’t hesitate to start writing, whether as part of your studies or on a personal basis (songs, poems, or even essays) in order to perfect your mastery of the French language.
Finally, take advantage of the many platforms and streaming services to watch French movies: a great way to increase your oral comprehension and discover the correct pronunciation of words. A proven method that will undoubtedly allow you to gain confidence and feel at ease when speaking French in public!