The number of people wanting to improve their communication skills today is overwhelming. It seems that everyone wants to excel at this vital success skill. However, when people who communicate well, want to sign up for a communication skills programme, I point out that their communication skills are pretty good, but they would require another programme of ours that deals with the Self Image and Inner Dialogue.
Success in life is determined not by how many times we win, but by how we stand tall.
How is Self Image connected to communicating ability?
Everything begins in the mind. Every thought, word, or action starts first as an electrical impulse in the brain. Our Self Image is how we see ourselves vis a vis our surroundings/relationships. In situations where we are superior, we normally do not have any issue in communicating freely and effectively. However, when we communicate with our peers, or our superiors, we tend to have a little problem. Ideas seem to dry up, our voice sounds shaky; we start to breathe in short bursts, and audibly. In short, we tend to get a little disjointed on our communication. This is because the mind, gets into the Fear Factor mode, and is therefore not able to function smoothly. Unfortunately, when we are stressed, the body is more alert, as it readies itself for action, but the mind tends to freeze. Therefore, our words tend to come out in fits and starts, and our communication gets messed up. Trying to improve communication, to overcome this issue, is therefore futile. It is like painting your car, when you actually needed to tune the engine, or clean the carburetor.
How do we improve the Self Image?
* List out your strengths and think about each one in turn. Also analyse how each of these has helped you in the past, and how this can continue to help you in the future. For example if one of your strengths is your ability to work hard and achieve targets, you may want to re-imagine the last time that you achieved something, and how it made you feel. The more you can re-visit your strengths and your achievements; the better is your self image.
* Make a list of your negative traits or weaknesses. Make up your mind that you will either eliminate most of the points on this list, by working on the flip side of this trait, and converting these to positives.
* Visualization is one of the powers that we possess to see things in the minds eye, even before they happen. It is our ability to imagine, and the more detail in our visualization, the more powerful the effect on the psyche. Everything happens twice... the first time in the mind, and the next in reality. Every building was once a concept in the mind of the architect, and then a plan, and eventually a solid concrete structure.
* Take Action. Unless we take action, nothing happens. Even the best laid plans would be worth nothing unless someone decided to work on the plan and manifest it through action. The movers and shakers of the world too make plans, and they act on them. Those that watch do not get their names on the scoreboard, or the record books.
* Decide to look only at the good side of everything that you come across. Even if things do not work out as planned, there is always a lesson that we get from it. Learn to drop the loss, and retain the lesson. Even the great Thomas Alva Edison looked at his 10,000 failed experiments on his way to inventing the light bulb, not as failures, but as lessons learned. He turned his failings into learning. We can too.
* Use the power of Affirmations. The world is going to put us down, and look at us skeptically, but if we keep repeating positive sayings to ourselves we build up a positive credit balance in the sub-conscious mind, and this helps us to overcome any negative that we may come across. One of the affirmations that is simple and powerful to use is "I can and I will." Repeat this to yourselves 100's of times a day, and you will start to feel more powerful and confident.
* Ensure that your friends and the people around you are positive, rather than negative oriented. Being in the company of positive people will make us feel positive. In the company of negative people we feel drained.
* Read Motivational Books, and see positive movies. Avoid the horror/murder type movies, as these affect the way we feel, and also the way we think.
* Last but not least, it is essential that we are aware of the thoughts that we have, the words that we use, and the intention behind every action. Positive thoughts, words, and actions yield positive results.
Remember, even if you fail once in a way, take the learning and move to the next attempt.
Success in life is determined not by how many times we win, but by how we stand tall. Success is determined or by how many times we fall, but how we get up again, and standing tall... and then trying one more time.
Communication will then become something that is a natural consequence of the success that is an intrinsic part of us. Stand and Walk Tall, and then Talk your Walk, and get to the next success.
The author is a corporate trainer, motivational speaker and success coach.
Issue BG82 Jan 08