On dialogue, volume, and thinking before speaking
On purpose-driven tasks The tasks that you assign yourself are incredibly easy to complete when you have a clear sense of purpose in doing them. When you can explain to me exactly why you take the action that you're about to take, there's nothing to stop you from doing the task. All else falls away because your purpose is far more important than any other task alone. The reversal of this is that when you have tasks that are not clearly purpose-driven, a problem arises. You're not clear on why you need to do it, and you simply fail to do it at all. Of course, you can call any task a learning experience, but that's usually not sufficient to justify the entirety of it. What are you improving for? What are you learning for? If you could see the vision with a bit more clarity, you'd find that today's tasks are enormously important, even if they are mundane. Use this longer-term vision to keep yourself on track to do the things that would otherwise be meaningless. Remember—these could be your last twenty-four hours. Don't let them go to waste.
On dialogue Surround yourself with high-quality dialogue at all times. Immerse yourself in conversations that you wish to have in the future. Your voice will begin to reflect—in some ways more obviously than others—those you listen to. This is why it is so important to make sure that the voices you allow in your head for any extended period of time are great ones. They cannot be complainers, they cannot be negative, they cannot be gossipers. You will quickly begin to complain, be negative, and participate in gossip. What good is that? What purpose does that serve? These voices must be educated (truly), they must be problem-solvers, and they must be well-tempered, among other things. More and more, you will begin to reflect those traits. This is especially important for traits that you may not currently possess in abundance, such as being consistently well-tempered or calmly consistent in your speech.
On volume Along with being reticent and speaking less, when you do speak, speak softly. Speaking loudly accomplishes little unless you are speaking to a large crowd. Mitigate your volume so as to entice others to lean in to hear you rather than stand back to avoid you. Save yourself from the burden of attention that comes with speaking and acting loudly.
On thinking before speaking Though there are studies to show that formulating a response to a question as quickly as possible makes you seem more confident and knowledgeable, this effect can quickly disappear when you fail to produce anything of value. Don't hesitate to acknowledge the question quickly, and take time to think about your answer. If you don't have anything to say at the moment, then don't say anything. Simply think. You spend far too much time rambling and going around the issue in many different ways only to arrive at one sentence that was valuable out of the entirety of what you said. Don't waste anyone's time by speaking when you have nothing to say. Be proud of the fact that you'd rather be silent than to talk about nothing.