Yes, you’re absolutely right about Spanish being a very fast language but don’t let this fact discourage you. Actually, Spanish is one the fastest-spoken tongues. The good news is that Spanish and English speakers convey about the same amount of meaning in the same amount of time, whether by speaking faster or packing more meaning into their syllables. So there is hope all you need is practice.
We want you to enjoy our podcasts and develop your listening skills at the same time. Follow our tips and your listening experience will be a great one.
Focus on the content of the podcasts and put all your worries out of your mind. Don’t say to yourself “this is too difficult”. The human mind is easily distracted by negative thoughts – it’s too hard, they speak way too fast, this is not for me…– try to put all the distractive thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on the messages that are being communicated not on your frustrations.
Focus on what is being said not on what you don’t understand.
Don’t even try to translate since you won’t have enough time to do it –nor the mental energy to do two cognitive processes simultaneously- Avoid unnecessary interruptions and don’t create mental noise over thinking about what you don’t understand since these behaviors disrupt the listening process.
Listen to Non-verbal Cues.
Volume, tone, intonation, pitch even silence add to what someone is saying.
Listen to the whole enchilada not just words. A good speaker will use both volume and tone to their advantage to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations – let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said. Remember that in a conversation over 65% of what is said is non-verbal.
Listen for Main Ideas – Not Isolated Words.
You need to get the whole picture, not just isolated bits and pieces.
Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening (in Spanish or even in your own native language) is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. Don’t stop listening if you don’t understand every word that is being said.
Listen to the Podcast More Than Once
Listening is a skill and practice makes perfect.
Try to listen to the podcast at least three times. The first time just try to get the gist of it. The second time you can concentrate on key words and phrases. Finally, the third time you can listen to the main ideas of the podcast. Remember that listening is a skill and with proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus listening will becomes easier.
Make a Mental Picture of What Is Being Said
Listen to the message and try to picture what the speaker(s) is/are saying.
Allow your mind to create a mental model of the information being communicated. You can pause the podcast at any time to help you’re your brain put all the information together. Whether a literal picture, or an arrangement of abstract concepts, your brain will do the necessary work if you stay focused, with senses fully alert. When listening concentrate on key words and phrases.
Have Fun and Learn
Don’t make your listening experience tedious.
Listen with a purpose and concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus. It doesn’t matter how much you understand from the podcast, you’ll improve your listening skills over time. Keep on practicing and never, ever give up!