HelloTalk is the world’s leading language exchange application. Thousands of people regularly use the program to improve their language skills with native speakers and fellow learners around the world. HelloTalk supports text, voice memos, audio calls, video calls, group chat, and status updates. It has a brilliant correction feature that enables users to edit mistakes. I have made several friends using the application that I remain in contact with today. One of them even visited me in the United States. HelloTalk is an invaluable tool for students of a foreign language, especially those who do not live in a country where that language is spoken. However, there’s one mistake I constantly see people make that limits the benefit they get out of the application.
Language Exchange is About Reciprocity
HelloTalk is a medium of language exchange. The word exchange implies reciprocity, also known as give and take. Everyone uses the application for the same reason you do–to advance their foreign language proficiency. If you want to get something out of an exchange, then you have to be willing to offer something in return. Fortunately, ability is not the issue as everyone is able to benefit someone else somewhere along their language journey. However, there are those who only want to take and have no interest in giving. I get messages from people like this all the time. People want me to speak to them in English but have no interest in speaking to me in their native language. HelloTalk, and nothing else in the world, works that way. Let me give you an example of a good introduction that is likely to leave a good impression and a bad introduction that will have the opposite effect:
Good Introduction: Hello, my name is Ben. I’m an advanced-level student in Spanish and English is my native language. Would you be interested in having a language exchange so we can help each other advance?
Bad Introduction: Hi, I need help with English. I have a big exam coming up, can you teach me?
Obviously the first introduction is going to gain the most traction because it acknowledges the basic principle of reciprocity. I get what I need and you get what you need. That’s the definition of a win-win transaction, the kind that HelloTalk is designed to facilitate.
Actually Hellotalkers want others to teach them. They do not want to study on their own then use Hellotalk to practise what they have studied. The majority are intermediate, so their journey is going to be long and solo.
I find that HelloTalk is most useful for advanced speakers. They’re best able to have long conversations and don’t make as many mistakes. It’s impossible to correct all the mistakes of beginners and some intermediates, plus it’s not as much fun exchanging with them.
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