Do people have a hard time hearing you? Sure, you could speak louder, but it’s not just about increasing your volume.
One of my clients wanted to improve his speaking in a very specific environment– loud bars and clubs. Context is always important. I wouldn’t recommend straining your voice to speak against loud noises, there’s a very under-appreciated tactic of voice projection.
How to project your voice?
Consider the trajectory of your voice– how exactly are you targeting your reach. If you’ve ever done martial arts, you know it’s important to aim behind the board when you punch.
Aiming just at the board will mess up your speed, power, and follow through.
The voice is no different, especially with timid speakers. What feels “loud” for you, is probably still soft. What feels “over-reaching” for you, probably lands just right.
I’ve written about the drive to teach in Japan, why that desire stopped, and how it’s been moving on. It’s in that space of being back home, the mind can’t help wonder “what if”.
What if I gave the JET Program another go?
I don’t think I ever would, but here are some important considerations:
- Would you take security over happiness? Are you actually unhappy now?
- What do you tell JET as your reason for doing it all over again?
- Why is there an “urgency” to leave your current situation?
- What about teaching in Japan still seems so great?
- Is there some place besides Japan for you?
- Are you looking at everything with rose-tinted nostalgia glasses?
- (Amy’s Second Opinion) Can you remember that JET is technically a dead-end contract job?
- (Tiffany’s Second Opinion) Is there anything more you can offer this time around?
- (Caitlin’s Second Opinion) Do you have a proper exit plan?
Sometimes the mistakes you make seem bigger than they actually are. That’s because you’re too zoomed in!
Part of the process of improving any skill is to be honest in your own assessment. You don’t want to gloss over problems that you’re making. There’s no point in sugar-coating and saying it was “perfect” when it clearly wasn’t.
That said, it’s a maddening and unproductive path to nitpick apart every single slip up. If you get too caught up in those actions, you might be too entrenched in self-criticism you forget the point.
Are your reflections actually helping to pave the way to something better?
Don’t be too zoomed in.
Zoom out, and make sure the efforts you make to correct aren’t wasted on the trivial things.
It’s not just about seeing the bigger picture, but taking steps to ensure that you’re moving towards a bigger picture.
To understand feels good. Not being able to understand feels bad. And, being able to express you don’t understand is super important.
Having a variety of expressions is also helpful. Too often, non-native speakers will jump straight to “I don’t understand”. Depending on the context, straight and to the point can be best. Unfortunately, if you’re always too direct and basic, it makes your language comprehension skills seem lower than they are.
If you’re in the intermediate-advanced range, you should know different ways to dance around your unfamiliarity:
- I tried, but I still don’t get it.
- I’m not sure I follow.
- I think I might, but I’m not positive on what you mean.
Those kinds of phrases, while natural, are a bit harder to utilize.
It might be easier to use a substitute like “to wrap my head around” (to comprehend, to visualize, to understand fully/well).
Most of the time, you’ll use this phrase in the negative form:
- I hear you, but that’s so hard for me to wrap my head around.
- I can’t quite wrap my head around it.