How to Speak Spanish
With over 500M+ native speakers that you can instantly connect with, learning how to speak Spanish can be one of the best investments you can make in your life and career.
The question is: how do you speak Spanish?
While we’ve written previous posts on learning Spanish, such as What’s the Best Way to Learn Spanish, How Long Does It Take to Learn Spanish, and Most Common Spanish Phrases, we never wrote an extensive post to answer the popular question: how do you speak Spanish?
Here’s our simple 5-step approach to start speaking Spanish in no time.
1. Understand “Why” You’re Trying To Learn Spanish
The first step in learning anything, not just Spanish, is understanding your “why.” In other words, is there a deeper purpose for learning Spanish for you?
Out of the hundreds of students we’ve surveyed at Rype, the top 3 reasons we’ve found are:
1. To advance their careers
2. To form a deeper connection with family or loved ones
3. Travel purposes
Whether your “why” fits into these top 3 reasons or not, ask yourself: what is the biggest benefit that you could receive by learning how to speak Spanish?
Simon Sinek, who’s the bestselling author of Start With Why, calls this The Golden Circle. After studying hundreds of the world’s greatest leaders, Sinek learned that the best way to make sure your actions are sustainable, is to understand the purpose behind why you’re doing something.
There’s no question that learning Spanish will have its tough roads ahead. You may want to give up, as you start to lose motivation. The only way to overcome these inevitable motivation swings is by seeing the bigger picture of why you’re doing something.
This can often be accomplished by asking the right questions. Imagine you accomplished your goal(s):
- How will you feel? Will you feel more confident, exuberant, powerful, fulfilled, grateful, excited, energetic, healthy, fit, etc.
- Who will you be around? Will you be connecting and have deeper relationships with fellow language lovers across the world? Maybe you will start to have friends start to ask “How do you speak Spanish?”, giving you a feeling of empowerment.
- Who will you become? Will you be more confident, interesting to you friends and family, reassured, giving, happy, financially independent, polyglot, etc.
- What opportunities will this open up? What doors will open up for you if you achieve this goal? Travel the world, more speaking opportunities, improve your love life, ability to learn other languages much faster, have a deeper connection with family members, etc.
The next time things get hard, you’ll always be able to come back to these questions, and remind yourself the purpose behind why you’re learning how to speak Spanish.
2. Schedule Your Spanish Learning
The second step to learning how to speak Spanish is: scheduling. This learning strategy applies to not only language learning, but with anything we want to learn.
A schedule helps you prioritize what you need to get done, like memorizing 30 words a day or reviewing your Spanish in the morning, and also accounts for time.
You may be asking, “why not use a to-do list instead?”
There’s 3 main reasons why using a schedule is better than a to-do list:
a. Accounts for Time – When we have a long list of tasks, we tend to tackle those that can be completed quickly in a few minutes, leaving the longer items left undone.
b. Accounts for Importance – Humans have the tendency to put out fires, instead of focusing on what’s important. By only doing what’s urgent, we never get things done.
c. Less stressful – In what’s known in psychology as the Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks contribute to intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts. It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night.
To schedule your Spanish learning time, we recommend using a digital calendar instead of a physical one for a couple of reasons:
a. It’s easier to set up and adjust (as your schedule will inevitably shift)
b. You can connect it to your smartphone, making it easier to access, and keep track of it
c. Set reminders for yourself that you can receive on your phone
3. Focus on “ONE” solution vs. several
In the bestselling book, The ONE Thing, Gary Keller defines the “ONE Thing” as:
“The ONE Thing I can accomplish [from this list], such that if I accomplish it, everything else will become easier or unnecessary.”
Keller refers to this technique as the Domino Effect.
“If You Chase Two Rabbits, You Will Not Catch Either One.”
Applying this to question: how to speak Spanish, we have to determine what’s the “ONE” solution we can learn that we can use such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.
For example, let’s say your #1 goal is to be able to hold a 30-minute conversation with a native speaker. But you originally put down the following methods you want to use:
The problem with having too many options, especially if you maintain a busy schedule, is that it causes analysis paralysis. In the end, you get nothing done.
Focusing on only one important (and most impactful) task, and dedicating time in your day to move it forward can significantly increase your effectiveness. If your #1 goal is learning how to speak Spanish, then it’s safe to say that you should choose a learning method that allows you to get as much speaking practice and help as possible, right?
If your goal is to learn how to speak Spanish, you can go with Rype, which offers 24/7 unlimited Spanish lessons, or a conversation exchange/language exchange. It all depends on how much time and patience you have to find the right partner for you.
We’ve written all about the pros and cons of using a conversation exchange.
4. Learn The Most Common Spanish Words
To further elaborate on your “ONE Thing,” language experts and polyglots have discovered a major shortcut when it comes to learning a language.
They did this by following an analogy known as the Pareto’s Principle, which explains that only 20% of our efforts will result in 80% of our desired results. We’ve written extensively about increasing productivity.
For summarization, there has been lots of research-backed studies showing that this analogy applies to many aspects of our lives:
-80% of your sales comes from 20% of your customers
-80% of your happiness comes from 20% of your friends and family
-80% of your language skills comes from 20% of what you learn
For language learning, linguistic experts discovered that we could spend 20% of our time learning the most common words to understand 80% or more of the language.
Many of us begin our language learning journey, only to waste hours of time learning words that we will either never or rarely use. For example, it’s very unlikely that we’ll ever need to talk about “stoic philosophy” in Spanish (think about how often you use this in your everyday conversation in English!).
How many words should we learn?
A study done on the Spanish language revealed that:
Studying the first 1000 most frequently used words in the language will familiarize you with 76.0% of all vocabulary in non-fiction literature, 79.6% of all vocabulary in fiction literature, and 87.8% of vocabulary in oral speech.
Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% ofvocabulary in oral speech.
And studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.
Without throwing too much research at you, these findings brings us to a simple conclusion that can save you a lot of time.
Learning and mastering the first 1,000 most common words will be an essential milestone we should achieve in any language, as this will allow us to:
“grasp over 88% of vocabulary in oral speech”
Here are the resources you need to learn the Most Common Spanish Words
-1,000 most common Spanish words (audio version)
-1,000 most common Spanish words (flash card version)
-5,000 most common Spanish words (memrise)
5. Find A Spanish tutor
Whatever goal you have in life – health, love, business – learning from someone who has achieved what you want to achieve.
Rarely do we have to reinvent the wheel, because it’s very likely that someone has already made all the mistakes out there for us to learn from.
Like learning how to perfect your golf swing, or starting your own business, the only way to get better at these skills is to learn by doing. Language learning is no different.
But while you can perfect your swing or start a successful business without relying on another person, it doesn’t apply in language learning. This is because languages are meant to be used to communicate with other humans. Without a coach or accountability partner to converse with, it’s like trying to play frisbee by yourself.
More importantly, research from the National Training Laboratories Institute has proven that immediate immersion is by far the most effective way for humans to learn anything, not just languages.
This means that 90-95% of everything learned through these methods go through one ear and out the other, and that learning through immersion is up to 18x more effective than learning through traditional lectures.
Bonus Tip: Go Long
The reason why most of us have not achieved everything we want in this world, whether it be finances, languages, health, etc. is rarely due to lack of talent or resources.
It’s because we quit too early.
According to best-selling author, Seth Godin, there are 5 main reasons why most of us quit too early:
1. You run out of time (and quit)
2. You run out of money (and quit)
3. You get scared (and quit)
4. You’re not serious about it (and quit)
5. You lose interest (and quit)
This “dip” due to lack of motivation is something all of us go through several times in the process of mastery — even the best performers in the world.
We all experience a high of energy and excitement when we first start to learn something new, because this is the natural part of the “honeymoon” phase.
Without a coach or someone there to guide you, most of us go through the emotions of uncertainty all the way down to acceptance mode, which is the critical point when we stop trying and quit.
“If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together.”
Since most of us choose to rely on learning how to speak Spanish through methods that require very little interaction and accountability, such as language schools, Duolingo, or online courses, we never get through these dips. It’s no wonder why so many of us have started to learn a new language, with zero results to show for (and hundreds of dollars down the pipe drain).
Having a coach or teacher empowers learners to not only overcome the dip when you most need it, but to maximize the result when you’re getting in the next hump.
Here’s the graph of the “Training Effect” in action.
Notice how the lowest point of the next dip is still be higher than the highest point of your previous hump. The key is not to avoid these inevitable low points in our learning process, but to have someone there to support you and help you get through it quicker and faster.
“Seventy Percent Of Success In Life Is Showing Up.” — Woody Allen
So how do you speak Spanish?
Still looking for the answer to: “how do you speak Spanish?” We can help you out at Rype.
With 24/7 Unlimited Private Spanish Lessons, you can book as many lesson as you want, at anytime of the day, any day of the week. We’ve built the entire experience to fit the needs of busy individuals like yourself, and you can even try it out for free! Learn more about Rype here.
We also recommend you check out our free resources:
- How to learn a new language in 90 days
- Complete Guide on How to Speak Spanish
Most common Spanish phrases
What’s the Best Way to Learn Spanish