Benny Lewis

CONVERSATION COUNTDOWN – FIRST STEPS TO FLUENCY

Product:  Conversation Countdown
Overall Ranking:   95/100
Price:  $47
Owners: Benny Lewis, FI3M
Website: http://fi3mplus.com

INTRODUCTION

I’ve spoken “restaurant Spanish” for some time. You know, order the food, ask for the check, etc., pretty safe and predictable. Well, yesterday I had my first conversation over Skype with a native Spanish speaker from Columbia. I should have done it ages ago, but was afraid I’d draw a complete blank. Benny Lewis helped me get over my fears and take the plunge.

Benny is known as “the Irish polyglot” and has a number of products on the market. The unique thing about his products is this: they are focused on learning to actually converse in any new language.  The specific goal of Conversation Countdown is to enable you to have your first conversation in your new language with a native speaker in one week!

“Is that even possible?” you may ask. Let me explain, and then I suggest you give it a try.

HOW IT WORKS

Benny contends that “Learning to speak a new language is something you can do in only a few months – if you have the right strategy.” His strategy is quite simple, break the larger task down into mini-tasks you can do right now.

Day 1:  First of all, you have to speak from Day 1. Each day you read an e-mail, watch a brief video, and do a mini-assignment. Your first mini-assignment: to learn to say, in your new language, “Hello. My name is _____. Pleased to meet you. Goodbye.” What’s more, he directs you to a chart in which you can find those phrases in the language of your choosing. A few minutes of copying, pasting, and reading aloud, and you’re done for the day!

Day 2: This day you get a break – no assignment. The focus this day is to change the way you think about language learning. In the video, Benny walks you through three myths about language learning that hold countless people back from reaching their goals. Then, he presents three simple mental shifts that are essential for you to learn a new language quickly. Change these thought patterns, and you’re well on your way.

Benny Day 2

Day 3:  “What you practice doing is what you’ll be good at.” So, if you want to converse, you’ve got to practice conversing. The next thing you do is start building your own unique vocabulary to say what you want to say in your first conversation. It’s really not hard, but Benny leads you through the process step by step – even providing links to free online resources to make it easy.

Day 4: This day is key! Benny introduces you to your most important language learning resource. He also walks you through the process of how to use this resource to your best advantage. Your assignment is threefold: 1) Schedule your first conversation with a native speaker; 2) post a personal introduction online and receive a corrected copy in your target language quickly and free of charge; 3) submit any questions that are troubling you.

Day 5: Now Benny gives you another free resource, a list of connecting phrases in the language of your choosing. Your assignment is to pick five, listen to the words pronounced, and memorize those five phrases.

Day 6: This day is for review, practicing your words and phrases. Better yet, try one of his novel and fun ways to practice.

Day 7: Now you get a few last tools and suggestions to prepare for your first conversation, things like:
• Start with 2-3 word phrases, and don’t worry about grammar.
• Fake it till you make it.
• What to say when you don’t understand?
• Why you don’t need to understand everything to hold a conversation, and
• A short list of tools to have on hand for your conversation.

Day 8: Now that you’ve broken the ice and had your first conversation with a native speaker, what do you do next? The primary key is to practice conversing in your new language frequently and with a variety of people. Again, Benny provides all the tools and step by step guidance you’ll need. A second key is to find ways to immerse yourself in the language; for ways to do that right at home, see my article “What is the Fastest Way to Learn Spanish? (or any other language).”

Day 9: Before leaving you to sink or swim on Benny2your own, Benny offers you a new, dynamic language learning plan named after his popular book Fluent in Three Months. Again, it’s not a course in Spanish or Mandarin or any specific language, it’s a strategy for reaching fluency in any language you choose and as many languages as you desire.

WHO IS IT FOR?

This is for anyone who wants to learn a new language, but has not yet reached the confidence to strike up conversations with native speakers. Whether you’re just beginning your language study or have taken years of classes really makes no difference.

TRAINING, TOOLS, & SUPPORT

This short course is presented entirely by e-mails, videos, links to free resources, and an open offer to e-mail and questions for assistance.

PRICE

Conversation Countdown is a bargain at $47.  Or, if you’d like to get to know Benny a bit before spending your money, start off with Speak in a Week.

FINAL OPINION

You may choose to try a variety of courses and materials. That’s up to you. But don’t miss this one. Sign up for your copy of Conversation Countdown today. True, it’s a starting point, not the whole enchilada. It’s easily worth the $47; but if that’s too steep for a first step, try Speak in a Week.  It’s a ‘lite’ course, much lower commitment, but it’s free! You can’t lose!

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8 thoughts on “CONVERSATION COUNTDOWN – FIRST STEPS TO FLUENCY

  1. This sounds like a great opportunity for learning a new language. I love these steps towards communication countdown in a new language. To be able to set and reach the goal of real conversation within the first week is a tremendous goal to be able to achieve.

    Additionally taking the lite course will give you a good idea of what the program is really about and how it works for you.

    Great product review, Thanks for the information.

    Do you know if they offer it in any other languages beside Spanish?

    1. Thanks for your comment, Debra. This course is for any language. While I am learning Spanish, you could use the same course for Mandarin, German, Tagalog, or whatever.

  2. What a great resource! There is really nothing better than speaking with a native speaker. And this process sounds like it will give you many different tools, using different modes of learning, to feel more confident in taking the plunge. I’ve often heard that native speakers of other languages appreciate when you try to communicate with them in their native tongue, even if you aren’t perfect. I think it shows respect and caring when you make the attempt. Once you have a little confidence using these tools, how do you find people to talk to?

    1. Your comments are right on target. As for your question: The ideal is to find someone in your community, someone you meet through work, school, business, hobbies, church, etc. However, you can also use Skype to talk to people around the world. And iTalki.com is the ideal online community to help you find a foreign language proofreader, conversation partner, tutor, or professional teacher. I’ll have a review of iTalki posted within the next week!

  3. Conversation Countdown looks like a great product to buy if you are in a foreign country and you want to learn their language.

    I can speak 3 languages at this time because I learned them from an early stage. But it gets harder for people to learn new languages as they get older.

    The tactics that Benny Lewis points out looks good and worth the try.

    1. Conversation Countdown is also great for learning a foreign language if you are not in that country! Most of my conversations have been via Skype. Children do have an advantage in learning another language: they are not afraid of sounding silly; they just want to communicate. Our own pressure to build correct sentences from day one often slows down our learning. Benny really helped me just Do It.

  4. Interesting that you mention you had a conversation over Skype. Have you tried the new Skype Translator? If so, what do you think of it? A bit off topic, I know. As a language person, I’m just curious what your opinion of the Skype Translator is. This conversation countdown certainly takes an interesting approach to learning a “foreign” language. Of course, some languages may have a steeper learning curve than others. However, if I could have a basic conversation with someone in their native language after just one week of study, that would be great! This seems like a reasonably priced product. I’ve seen others that are much more expensive and don’t seem to offer what conversation countdown has. If I need to pick up another language quickly for conversational purposes, conversation countdown looks like a very reasonable option. Thanks for the review.

    1. I have not tried Skype translator, so can’t address that. Conversation Countdown is a great starting point to help you get over the hump of that first conversation and start learning by doing — i.e., by using your new language skills. A much more in depth option would be Fluent in 3 Months.

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