I usually don’t talk about other products that are not mine, and I’m NOT a fan of promoting social media platforms.
As someone who tries really hard to keep clear boundaries around how much I use my phone, especially during lockdowns when my girls are at home 24/7, god knows I really don’t need another social media platform to use.
But… then I found Clubhouse. And I was like… HOLD IT!
There’s something in this!
Not in terms of building-my-business and getting-more-followers (not that that’s bad, of course). But mainly because I discovered it to be English practice & communication heaven.
According to their website “Clubhouse is a new type of social product based on voice. It allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”
And the way I see it, this new platform essentially requires a new way of communication.
Since there’s no video and no chat, all you have is your VOICE.
How do you stay engaging, persuasive and interesting, when you can’t SEE people’s reactions?
How can you sustain the energy of your speech when you can’t HEAR their excited AH-HA’s and ‘you’re right’ when speaking.
How can you sense when to stop, if there’s no one barging into your sentences?
How do you gather the courage to start speaking when no one calls your name, yet you know you should say something?
Many of the challenges we occasionally face in meetings, speaking engagements, Q&A’s, and presentations, are constantly addressed on Clubhouse.
Also, the app is so diverse. You get to hear so many voices, dialects, and accents, which actually shows you what REAL English sounds like, and not the simulacrum of English as can be found on English YouTube videos or even in Hollywood.
*Simulacrum – an image or representation of something, without the substance or qualities of the original.
This is why I actually think that this platform is a game-changer when it comes to improving your communication skills and speaking confidence. Especially, ESPECIALLY if you don’t get to speak English very often, and you know you should be speaking more to improve.
For today, I made a short video describing what clubhouse is, and how you can use it to boost your fluency and confidence.
I’ll also tell you about my first interaction on Clubhouse that was pretty… how shall I put this mildly… lame.
Watch: Clubhouse APP: A New Social Platform that will Skyrocket your Communication Skills ?
Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Thank you so much for joining me. Today I want to tell you about a new social platform called Clubhouse. And Clubhouse is the ideal place to improve your communication skills, especially if English is not your first language. Think of Clubhouse as one big fat Zoom call: with a lot of breakout rooms, without the video, and without the chat; so it’s only based on audio.
Now, there are a few downsides to Clubhouse that I’m going to talk about at the end. But before that, I want to tell you a little bit about how it works, so you can try it out and use it to boost your fluency confidence, and of course, clarity; and also why I think it actually helps develop a new way of communication. And that requires people to step out of their comfort zone.
If you’re new to my channel, by the way, my name is Hadar. I’m a non-native speaker of English. And I am here to help you speak English with clarity, confidence, and freedom. You can find me at @hadar.accentsway on Instagram if you want to connect even more. Okay.
So, when you think about Clubhouse, it is basically like you are walking into this party, and in the party there are a lot of small rooms that you are kind of like walking around between with your martini. And then on the door of each true room, there is a sign with the name of the room, like what’s happening in the room.
So, in one room, people might be talking about learning languages and in another room about science, and in another room about podcasting, and another room – YouTube Q&A. So, every room is really different, and the rooms that you see are actually based on your preferences, and what you love to learn about and talk about, and what you’re interested in.
So, then you just walk around between the rooms and you’re like, “Okay, I wanna go into that room that talks about podcasting.” I like talking about podcasting because I have a podcast, if you don’t know. It’s called the InFluency Podcast. Just saying.
And you open the door and you walk into the room. Now, don’t worry. It’s not like the moment you walk into the room there is a spotlight on you that requires you to speak. No, you enter the room and then you are still the audience. You’re observing what’s happening on stage. Now, on stage – it’s like separated – on stage you’ll find a moderator, the person who actually opened the room and decided to name it whatever name that is. And other people who were invited to the stage. And the people who are on the stage, they can unmute themselves and have a free conversation about that topic.
So, when you’re just the audience, then you can’t speak, but you can raise your hand and ask to get called on stage. So once they bring you on stage – and the person who brings you on stage is the moderator – once they bring you on stage, then you can simply unmute yourself and speak; they can invite you to talk. It depends on how many people are in the conversation. Sometimes people are having a free conversation between three, four or five people. Sometimes there are like 15 people on stage, so the moderator calls on people. Sometimes they’ll invite you to ask a question and then answer you.
So it’s really, really cool, especially in the small rooms where you end up finding four or five people that are passionate about the same topic. And then you just simply have a conversation. And you can be in your pajamas because there is no video. And you shouldn’t be afraid of typos because you don’t have to chat. So it’s all about you and your voice. Scary? Maybe. Useful? Absolutely.
Now, here’s the thing. And here’s why I think this form of communication is really powerful. Because when you speak, think about it, when you speak to people in front of you, you are used to seeing their reactions, right, like how they respond to what you’re saying, they usually nod, they say things like ‘uh-huh’. And that makes it easier for us to be engaging and to stay in the conversation.
You even have that when you are in a Zoom call – even though they might be muted, if you’re speaking, you can still see them. But here you can’t see people’s faces. So you really have to muster up all your courage and to believe that people are interested in what you have to say. And to speak confidently in a way that gets people to listen.
So I think that the communication skills required from the moderators or the people who are speaking are unique. And if you are able to do a good job on this platform, it can definitely level up your way of communicating in the day-to-day life. And also it’s really interesting as a listener or as the audience. It’s really interesting to see how people deal with this challenge. How they communicate; how they’re able to keep us engaged and interested, even though they can’t see us, it requires another level of energy I believe. And I think that it’s a really great and interesting lesson to learn.
So, I think that is really telling, and you can learn a lot about communication. And of course, If English is not your first language, then when you listen to different speakers, you hear different voices, different accents, right? English is not just standard English, like what you know from YouTube. So, it’s so great to expose yourself to that.
It’s like an interactive podcast – when you listen to the podcaster, but then all of a sudden people ask questions and they answer. So it’s really cool, and if you get bored, you simply walk out of the room, so out of the chat, and then you go into another room. And the best part is that once you join, you can open your own room and start a conversation with your friends or choose a topic. And you can be the moderator. And think about what an amazing opportunity that is for you to improve your English.
Now, I want to tell you about my first interaction on Clubhouse, the first time I spoke there. Because it was not at all glamorous, not at all. And I want you to hear it so you get comfortable if your first experience speaking is not that great.
So, I was sitting on the couch Saturday night in my pajamas, very tired, and I’m listening to this conversation about YouTube. And I was like, “Should I ask a question? Nah, I don’t feel like it.” And then I said to myself, “Okay, Hadar. What you’re feeling now is resistance. You don’t want to do it because it’s going to require you to feel a little uncomfortable and to speak in front of people that you don’t know.”
But here is the thing. I always tell my students to get out of their comfort zone and to do the things that are uncomfortable. And every time they recognize that resistance, they need to still do it anyway. And I said, “If you can’t do what you preach, then, you know, how can you even ask your students to do that?”
So I was like, “Okay. Okay, Hadar.” I had that conversation with myself. And I asked to be called, so I raised my hand. And a few minutes later they invite me to go into stage. So I’m like, “Oh no! I didn’t think that they’re actually going to call me. It’s a big room with hundreds of people. I don’t feel like it.”
So I was playing with the idea of leaving and then I said to myself, “No, Hadar, you’ll do it anyway. So, you’ll be over it. And then it’s going to be easier.” Cause I knew that once I have that experience of speaking once, it’s going to be easier. And it’s so crazy because I once had a live in front of more than 1000 people. Right? And I’m making videos, I have no problem going live on Instagram or on Facebook. But all of a sudden speaking to a hundred people was scary to me. And I think it’s because it’s a new platform and these people don’t know me, and it’s not comfortable. Right? Like you get into that, “What are people gonna think?”
Anyway. So I was waiting to speak and then I spoke. And, you know, I wasn’t at my best, I was a little confused. And my daughters were sleeping, and I was having all these things going through my head. But hey, I did it. And I got my answer and it was great. And then I was like, “I don’t know why I made such a big deal out of it.”
And of course, I shared it with my students, and now I’m sharing it with you. So you know that you might feel a little anxious before speaking, but you have to do it anyway. Ask questions, participate, go into small rooms, even though it might feel awkward because you know, it’s a small room, and “I don’t know what to talk about.” Do it anyway. Because as I said, it’s an excellent opportunity to practice.
Now, there are a few downsides to Clubhouse, as I told you. The first one is that it’s not that available to everyone. Which is part of their marketing strategy, they want to create FOMO. And you know, this video is not helping because it gets people excited about something that is not really available. But at the same time, I understand that in order for them to build a strong community that will support more and more people, they have to keep it small. That’s the beta version. So, I get it.
Now, first it’s available only on iPhone or iPad, but I’m sure that pretty soon it’s going to be available on Android once they’re out of their beta version. Now, even if you have iPhone or iPad, you can’t get in right away, you need to sign up and you can even save your username. But you need to get an invite. And you can get an invite only from someone who has your phone number and who has an invite to give.
But here’s what happened to me. I just downloaded the app, saved my username, and then I got an invite a few days later because my friend saw me on the list of people and sent me an invite. Which was really cool. And as I said, soon enough it’s going to be available for everyone.
Also, right now, there aren’t a lot of rooms that are there for just English conversation and fluency, but I’m sure that the more we get people from this community, the more interest there’s going to be around these topics. So make sure to join and start creating your own rooms around English practice and fluency.
Okay. So if you do join Clubhouse, make sure to look me up at @hadarshemesh. And put in the comments your ID because that’s how we can connect as a community. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.
Now yes, I know – live, spontaneous English conversation with strangers can be scary, but I promise that when you start using it regularly, you will see the impact it has on your fluency and confidence!
This app is not available to everyone YET, but if you’re a part of the InFluency community and you have an iPhone or iPad, we’ll be passing invites inside the community.
I hope this helps!