Skip to main content

Talking skills

Watch this to refine your talking skills for Higher French (and why Mr Mandela had it right all along)

search thinkfour.

What does it take to communicate with another human being? And I mean really communicate – not memorizing lines, but knowing enough to talk, listen, respond, challenge and contribute?

Nelson Mandela famously said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in HIS language, that goes to his heart “.

Well, I think Mr Mandela had this right. When you can use another person’s language to communicate properly you possess the power to impact them and also the power for you to better understand the world around you.

Your journey starts here, with your performance talking exam.

So, let’s talk clearly.

This is thinkfour.

The performance talking exam is a conversation between you and your teacher and you must cover at least two of the four contexts taught at Higher.

For a lot of people, this can seem a nerve wracking and daunting task, especially as the performance is recorded.

So how can we make this process a lot less scary?

If it were me, I would plan ahead and choose topics about which I already have a lot of notes, or topics which lend themselves to good, in-depth conversation.. That way, you can use detailed and complex language.

A good plan is to have a bank of phrases up your sleeve, which you have rehearsed and feel comfortable using.

Phrases in the foreign language which can “buy you thinking time”, such as :

“ that is a good question” or “let me think about that”.

The talking performance task is an ideal opportunity for you to showcase your best language phrases.

I often find that the best performances are the ones where you can give opinions.

Make sure you have a variety of ways to express your opinions and do not stick to the same phrase each time..

Impress the examiner by adding in the opinions of others, like “my friends think” and or “my family says that”.

That way, you can show off other verb forms and you are not always talking about yourself.

Putting both sides of a point of view across is a good way to expand your responses.

Learning phrases such as “on the one hand….on the other hand…”will demonstrate that you have a lot to say on the topic.

I have always found that the candidates who get the best marks, make sure their answers contain a variety of tenses.

Doing this is a lot easier than it sounds!

Simply put, have some sentences prepared about something you have done, something you would like to do, and something you are going to do.

So, what if your mind goes blank on the day?

Stay calm, don’t panic.

In the foreign language, ask your teacher to repeat the question or, tell your teacher, in the foreign language, that you do not understand.

Marks are not deducted for this. In fact, you could actually gain marks, by demonstrating that you are attempting to sustain the conversation. Remember, you have to listen very carefully in any conversation, and this one is no different.

Your teacher wants you to do well, and will, therefore use that as a cue that you might need some assistance, and will rephrase the question in such a way that gives you an opportunity to respond as best you can.
Always try and say what you know, rather than trying to translate directly from English to the foreign language.

A conversation is supposed to sound natural, so take control, and talk about all the things you have prepared.

The power of conversation binds us together as humans. It is the most basic but the most powerful form of connection.

Whether we are talking about world leaders meeting to discuss the future of the planet , or a group of friends meeting to talk about what happened over the weekend, being able to communicate in the moment is crucial.

It takes effort and dedication to learn to do it in another language, but it is worth it. As Mr Mandela noted, it impacts hearts as well as minds.

Trust me, it will set you free.

This was thinkfour, thanks for watching.

Close Menu