Before the conversation :
Step 1 :
Find a language partner, someone with whom you can practice your French oral skills.
It doesn't have to be a native French speaker.
It can also be someone who is learning French like you, with an equivalent level of French.
Step 2 :
Prepare your topic
To really optimize your conversations, it is best to define a topic in advance so that you can prepare yourself and feel confident.
Step 3 :
Set goals for the conversation you are going to have.
What are your goals during this conversation?
What do you expect from yourself in this conversation?
What are the mistakes you want to avoid?
What do you want to improve?
Step 4 :
Prepare your ideas on the subject, look for the vocabulary you will need.
For example, if you're going to talk about ecology, write down useful words like "empreinte carbone" ; "local" ; "biologique" ; "recycler" ; etc.
Don't write down your entire speech and what you're going to say. No, to really progress, it has to remain a minimum of spontaneity.
Prepare the vocabulary that will be useful to you and already think about organizing your ideas.
Step 5 :
Learn some useful phrases for future conversations in French.
- Merci / Thank you
- S'il vous plaît / Please
- Pouvez-vous répéter s'il vous plaît ? / Can you please repeat?
- Je n'ai pas compris / I did not understand
- Comment est-ce qu'on dit "..." / How do you say "..."?
- Je ne vous entends pas, pouvez-vous parler plus fort ? / I can't hear you, can you speak up?
Step 6 :
Read up on your subject and already get your ear used to the vocabulary words you will hear.
For example, if the topic you're going to talk about ecology, watch videos on the subject, read articles, listen to podcasts.
Here are some sites where you can find authentic resources on different topics:
Step 7 :
The best way to reduce stress is to be well-prepared. I then advise you to rehearse your ideas on the subject on your own, in a way that remains improvised.
Ask yourself questions on the subject and answer them as if you were talking to someone.
And no, don't worry, you won't look like a madman.
Step 8 :
Another good way to avoid stress during your conversations is to favour conversations with no more than 2 or 3 people. This will allow you to keep some control over the conversation.
Moreover, if there are too many people in your conversation circle, you will have less opportunity to express yourself in French.
A conversation with two or three people will allow you to control the pace of the discussion and be more involved in the conversation. Indeed, if there are too many people, you can quickly feel overwhelmed and blend in and no longer have the courage to speak.
If you also have the possibility of not always speaking to the same people, it is also a very good thing to vary your language partners. This allows you to vary opinions on a subject and improve your comprehension and conversation skills.
During the conversation :
Step 9 :
I know that you are dying to express yourself well in French, don't worry. It will come, don't worry, and it will be easier and faster if you relax and enjoy learning.
Oh, you made a "beginner's" mistake in French. Okay, that's okay. No man died. It's not the end of the world.
Keeping a smile on your face in French conversations is also very important. Indeed, it immediately creates a jovial atmosphere and will invite your interlocutor to be more kind to you.
If you are nervous and tense, you will feel it. Your interlocutor will feel tension and will probably feel uncomfortable. If you smile and are positive, the conversation will be much more pleasant and relaxed.
Step 10 :
Have fun, laugh, smile!
After the conversation :
Step 11 :
Take 5 minutes to take stock of your conversation.
Answer the following questions:
How do you feel after the conversation?
☐ 🤩 ☐ 😃 ☐ 😊 ☐ 😕 ☐ 😰
What have I learned?
Vocabulary & expressions: ...
Cultural facts: ...
What did I achieve during this conversation? What am I proud of?
What do I need to improve in my next conversation?
Étape 12 :
Do it again!
And if you want to go further, join my French conversation group: Ohlala French Coffee.
See you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷