Improving your speaking skills requires a delicate balance of selfishness. If you’re just a pushover and too passive, sure, you might seem agreeable. But in the end, it’ll be such a one-sided and unfruitful conversation.
If you’re starting out and just trying to get out of your shell, okay, more exposure to conversation is good. After awhile though, don’t you want something out of it?
Don’t you want to be able to say your piece? Don’t you want to talk about things you enjoy talking about?
Be sure to identify the topics and things that really interest you. And once you figure that out, see if you can transition boring talks towards those points. Then, whenever you are engaged in the things you actually like to discuss, make sure you don’t abruptly end things too soon.
Get there and hang there.
Completely catering towards the other party doesn’t do you any good. It’s okay to direct things a bit more self-centered.
I’ve always had a thin skin with criticism, but it’s funny how often I have to fight my inner critic.
We are our own worst enemy is so cliche, but forever true.
When I podcasted with the man behind Tommy Toe Hold in 2013, one of my biggest takeaways was his spirit and fortitude in creating content.
“As long as you’re getting it out there and bustin’ your ass, good things are gonna happen.”
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?