Learning a foreign language can be a rewarding task in and of itself, but not many people realize that it can also be a great way to boost your career as a public speaker. It might not sound obvious to begin with, but when you start to think about it, it makes a lot of sense.
We’re big fans of learning for the sake of learning, and we’re also all about sharing anything that can help you to become a better public speaker. That’s why in today’s article, we’re going to take a closer look at how learning a foreign language can help you with your public speaking.
And so if you’re ready, let’s dive in and get started. Or as the French would say, “On y va!”
How Learning a Foreign Language Can Help Your Public Speaking
1. It boosts your memory
Learning a foreign language has been shown to boost memory, largely because the act of learning new words and phrases requires you to put those memory muscles to use. We can think of training our memory as being like training any other muscle in that the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. Learning a foreign language gives us plenty of opportunities to do just that, and a better memory means it’s more likely we’ll remember exactly what we want to speak about when we take to the stage.
2. It exposes you to new cultures
Learning a new language will expose you to the cultures of the people who speak that language, which can help you to become more open-minded and more understanding. This is good news when you’re a public speaker because you’re going to meet all sorts of people when you’re on the road and delivering your presentations. You need to get used to coming across people from other cultures, and you need to be prepared to accommodate them. Learning a new language can be a great starting point.
3. It forces you to get comfortable with discomfort
When you’re learning a new language, you’re going to have more than your fair share of discomfort. For example, if you’re speaking the language you’re learning, it puts you in a place of weakness because you’re trying to communicate with a language that doesn’t come naturally to you. This is useful for public speakers because the very act of public speaking can put us in a place of discomfort, and so we need to be comfortable with discomfort if we’re to get used to taking to the stage.
4. It shows you how much you’ve mastered your native tongue
We tend to take our native language for granted, and it’s not until we start learning another language that we realize just how much we’ve mastered it. This can provide a useful confidence boost and lead to us feeling more comfortable when we’re using words to express ourselves, and this applies both to the written word and when we’re getting up on stage to speak to people. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this confidence boost can help out if you’re a public speaker.
5. It makes international networking easier
As you become more and more successful as a public speaker, you’re going to start receiving opportunities to travel internationally to deliver your presentations. This can turn your personal brand from being a national brand to being an international one, but it also creates a unique set of challenges that you’ll need to overcome. Studying a foreign language can make it easier for you to communicate with people from other countries, and sometimes just knowing a phrase or two can be enough to impress a new connection.
6. It proves that you have dedication and stickability
Learning a language takes time and dedication, two resources that can seem as though they’re in short supply in today’s fast-paced world. If you commit to learning a new language and you stick to your guns, it can allow you to prove to yourself that you’re able to dedicate yourself to something that you’re passionate about. If you can stick with learning a new language, you’ll also be able to stick with your mission to become a public speaker.
7. It reminds you that practice makes perfect
We all know the saying that practice makes perfect, and that’s particularly true for both language learning and for becoming a public speaker. A lot of people who study a new language do so using an app like Duolingo, which encourages people to practice little and often, checking in every day. If we’re able to make a habit of practicing a new language every day, we can also make a habit of practicing our public speaking every day.
8. It teaches you new phrases and expressions
Learning a language can teach you new phrases and expressions both in the language you’re learning and in the language that you’ve been speaking throughout your life. This might not sound like much, but if you can pick up some new phrases, then you can use them to better communicate, and that applies whether you’re talking on the phone or whether you’re on stage and delivering a live presentation to an audience.
9. It improves your self-esteem
Learning any new skill can help you to boost your self-esteem, and learning a new language is no different. If we know that we’re good at a skill that we have, it makes us feel good about ourselves and provides a reminder that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to do. Public speakers need self-esteem in spades because if we don’t believe in ourselves, how can we expect people to care what we’re talking about?
10. It slows cognitive decline
Studies show that learning a new language can slow cognitive decline and keep our brains healthy, allowing us to do what we do better and for longer. It could make the difference between retiring from public speaking engagements at 50 and retiring at 60. Above and beyond your public speaking career, it will also keep your brain healthy for your personal life, too. With diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s on the rise, who doesn’t want to slow cognitive decline?
Now that you know some of the different ways that learning a foreign language can make you a better public speaker, it’s over to you so that you can share your thoughts. Have you ever studied a foreign language? And if so, have you noticed an impact on your performance as a public speaker?
As always, we’d love to keep the discussion going, so be sure to let us know in the comments. You can also follow us on your favorite social networking sites for more. We’ll see you soon for another article!