February has just dawned and I wanted to ask you something:
Are you tired of hearing about all the new resolutions and challenges we supposedly need to focus on in 2020 to continue to “improve ourselves” in some way?
They make me feel a bit like the child in this photo.
So I’ve decided to tell you the opposite: you don’t need to “improve yourself”.
Let me explain.
I listened to this podcast about expectations and productivity the other day and realized that I too was often on the never-ending treadmill of trying to get better in the different areas of my life: be a better business owner, teacher, coach, communicator, parent, wife…. the list is endless.
I’ve come to the same conclusion as the podcast: it’s exhausting!
Why are we constantly racing for better? Why can’t we just stop and be who we are?
Play around with what we already have? Be more compassionate with ourselves!
Are you constantly beating yourself up for not meeting your own expectations in your professional or personal life? In your English communication?
What if I told you that you can slow down and press pause? When you slow down, you speed up in the long run.
Let me give you an example.
I go jogging regularly. At least three times a week, weather permitting.
I’ve been doing this for about 18 months now. I feel good.
I feel good because:
- I’m not trying to go faster or further.
- I don’t have any particular expectations or stressful thoughts about my running potential.
- I don’t feel the pressure to be an expert jogger. I’m just someone who jogs.
- I don’t need any fancy equipment or resources, all I need to do is show up. I am the only thing I need.
- I’m just enjoying the jogging in itself, whether I’m jogging “mindfully” or I’m listening to a podcast. The fact that I’m keeping myself fit, both physically and mentally, is an added bonus. A happy side effect.
Jogging is one of the few areas in my life where I don’t pressure myself to constantly improve.
And you know what, it feels great!
What if you applied this same mindset to your English communication?
What if there was:
– no need to go faster or further or be better than Tom, Peter or Sally
– no need to be seen as an expert
– no need to worry about fancy jargon or resources
What if the only need was to just take one step at a time, being fully present in the moment?
I guess then you would have less on your mind, which would free you to:
- communicate with more intention, attention and clarity
- be more engaging
- enable your audience to feel heard
When we focus less on the doing (getting lost in the details of trying to find the right word, worrying about how we look, about making mistakes or asking the most interesting questions etc. ) and we focus more on who we’re being whilst we’re communicating (curious, relaxed, interested…), we make much more impact and connection.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So, the next time you need to communicate at work, whether it’s a speech, presentation or leading a meeting, remember to slow down and press pause. You are enough, it’s only your thoughts that are telling you otherwise.
Use my 3 tips:
1. Be mindful:
Be fully present in the moment so that you are able to communicate at your best and really listen to your audience.
If you’re up in your head, lost in your thoughts, you’ll miss the chance to connect.
2. Be meaningful:
- what is the essence of your message (what do you want the audience to do after listening to you)? You should be able to write it on a napkin.
- what does your audience most need to hear?
- what powerful story or metaphor could you use to drive home your message?
3. Be minimal:
Stay specific, succinct, simple. And sincere.
Less is more.
Photos courtesy of: Sasha Freemind, Jukan Tateisi, Will Porada, Andres Siimon on Unsplash