Join Jeff Ansell for an in-depth discussion in this video Connecting with yourself, part of Communicating with Confidence.
- What often keeps us from being a confident communicator is that we get in the way of ourselves. Oftentimes when I coach people, after they're done speaking, I ask them whether they felt connected to me, and or others in the room, or were they just hurling words at people, or a combination of both? What I mostly hear back is hurling. People feel themselves hurling words, because they are so deep inside their own head, it's almost as if they're talking to themselves.
Well after training thousands of people to be confident communicators, I can tell you that the problem is people fall into what I call, the endless loop trap. The Endless Loop Trap is where People keep repeating the same relatively ineffective patterns of behavior in the way they communicate. What they do is toss information at people, in a detached, disconnected manner. The Endless Loop Trap is essentially a one-way communication, most of it taking place in our head.
And that's a surefire way to lose the audience's attention, and at the same time, appear to be less than confident. A one-way communicator, deep in their own head, is probably not even thinking about what they're talking about, because their mind is always searching for the next thing to say. And they toss the information out there, in the mistaken presumption that just because they say it, people are going to get it. A one-way communication cuts us off from other people. What's happening, is that the one-way communicator is paying scant attention to the people they're talking to.
It becomes all about them, and they separate themselves from the people they're talking to. And all the while, racing brain syndrome, as we talked about earlier, has the brain running at full speed, while the tongue struggles to catch up. And what results, is a disconnection between what people say, and what they're thinking as they say it. You know, I used to think it was a real strength to be able to think quickly on your feet. And then, after 35 years, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
That's the problem. We're thinking way too fast. So what we need to do is get out of our own way, and get out of our own head, where we're trapped in anxiety and self doubt. We need to center ourselves and connect to ourselves. The best way is to begin every important communication, presentation, or encounter, by asking yourself before and during the communication, What words would I use to describe how I want to be seen and perceived in this moment, in this situation? Those words could include, confident, clear, succinct, interesting, engaging, informative, concerned, helpful, maybe even enlightening.
So rather than telling yourselves, oh I feel anxious, instead, remember those words, and be mindful of those words with everything you say, and how you say it. You see, by giving thought to how you want to come across before and during an important communication, you now have a direction. It's an essential step towards getting out of your own head, where you make it all about yourself.
- Organizing your thoughts
- Speaking slowly, naturally, and confidently
- Breathing properly
- Using your body to reinforce speech
- Managing facial expressions
- Handling nervousness
- Integrating voice modulation, eye contact, and hand gestures into a powerful and engaging communication style