Why the name The Speaking Seed for foreign language public speaking?
To deliver a speech in another language is no joke. I compare this to a seed because most foreign language learners struggle to deliver speeches that can be planted into listeners’ hearts. Writing, revising, practicing and then delivering a speech entail separate but equally challenging skills. Most audiences will respect your effort, be influenced by your ideas, and most importantly, think you’re pretty freakin’ cool.
Foreign Language + Public Speaking= Great Opportunities
I know you are saying, “I can’t speak French already. What’s the point?” But that is the point. Learn public speaking skills so you can speed up your foreign language learning.
Why was The Speaking Seed founded?
I believe that Speaking Seeds can:
• Help you discover who you are.
• Make you feel confident about sharing your experiences.
• Help people from other cultures realize you’re not so weird.
• Persuade others to listen to your ideas.
• Be an ambassador for your country and represent!
• Decrease the level of madness in the world.
And these are only a few. There are so many benefits to sharing your message to others in a foreign language.
What do Speaking Seeds need?
Speaking Seeds need “Seed Time” more than anything else. Seed Time is the stage time you will need to practice using the foreign language in front of an audience. An audience can be a few people at a lunch, or 20 at a meeting or class. The more Seed Time you have, the more confidence you’ll have. Nothing can replace Seed Time.
What skills can I learn to grow a strong plant?
When you plant a seed, everything depends on the soil. The soil is the language foundation. So you must improve the quality of your soil constantly to get the benefits of speaking a foreign language publicly.
How to improve your language foundation
READ – kids books, adult books, naughty books, who cares!
LISTEN – soap operas, YouTube or ease-drop on others (but don’t get busted!)
SPEAK – a native speaking tutor is perfect, but a romantic interest seems to work wonders, too!
BE A PROUD IDIOT – the fear of: 1) public speaking and 2) speaking a foreign language equals a double, “What the hell am I doing?!” You will be scared and you will sound stupid, so learn to laugh at yourself. I promise; it does get better.
What Speaking Seed products do you provide?
Speaking Seed Products
• Curriculum Designs for Schools/Universities
• Workshops & Trainings
• Online classes and webinars
• Coaching (video or in-person)
So what is a Speaking Seed?
A Speaking Seed is a person who is crazy enough to tackle two monster challenges together: learning a foreign language and public speaking. Check out this animation of what a Speaking Seed is.
About the Founder
- I’m a language nerd. I’ve lived in four countries and did my best to learn the language in each of those countries with so-so success.
- In 2005 I moved to Taiwan at a time when everyone was excited about the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Mandarin was THE hot language to learn, but also known as the hardest. I realized that repeating teachers for hours was the same road everyone else was taking with little success in eventual fluency.
• As an experienced ESL teacher, I knew that I needed to actively apply all four language skills to conquer the steep Mandarin learning mountain.
- To accomplish this goal, I joined a Toastmasters English club in Taiwan, but I convinced the club to allow me to speak Mandarin instead of English.
- After my first speech, I got a standing ovation. By my third speech, my mentor suggested that I start delivering speeches in English instead!
- So I continued my Mandarin studies on the side while I got more serious about my public speaking. I went on to compete in many English speech competitions and earned many awards as a participant and coach. But I never gave up on my dream to deliver speeches in Chinese.
- Seven years later, I joined an all-Mandarin Toastmasters club. This time I joined a club without any foreigners, zero English, and members who would never understand what I said if I said it wrong.
- Audiences looked at me cross-eyed when I messed up my tones, and sometimes even when I didn’t. Many days after speeches, I returned home and had good girly cries.
- Three years later I was the first foreigner to ever beat all native Mandarin speakers in a Toastmasters Mandarin speech contest.
Was it easy? Hell, no! Was it worth it? Hell, yes!
In my winning speech, “Am I Strange?” I humorously shared my experiences as an African-American in Taiwan. My video reached one million views on YouTube in two weeks. I’m convinced that the only reason my speech captivated the hearts of the Taiwanese people was because I spoke in their language – Mandarin.
Who would benefit from becoming a Speaking Seed?
- International traders
- Hotel and restaurant managers
Crappy vs. awesome Speaking Seed qualities
- can care less about anyone else in the world
- no interest in foreign languages
- connect with others
- enjoy learning the language
- conquer the challenges of public speaking
Where can you begin?
I started my Speaking Seed experience in Toastmasters, but it’s not the only place you can find an audience. Audiences are available everywhere. Here are some examples:
- restaurant nights out with friends
- in front of classmates at school
- with colleagues at work
- religious or social gatherings
- any events where large communities of those speakers live