Today at my Young Leaders’ course I studied the art of effective communication. Communication is the two-way flow of information, ideas and opinions and is very important in all types of situation. Unless you live in a cardboard box with a self-stocking fridge you are going to have to communicate some how. We all do it. The only thing is that we are not all so good at it.
You may think that communicating is just talking to the person next to you but it is also important to realise how your body language, eye contact and facial expressions are reflecting you. You may be saying that you really care but the bored expression on your face, slouched back and twiddling thumbs could be telling a whole different story. Non verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. In reality effective communication depends on 55% body language, 38% tone of voice and 7% content. So even if you have absolutely no clue about what you are talking about, your body language can make it seem like you have a degree on the subject.
Writing is another type of communication that has become increasingly popular with the use of text messaging and social networking. If used properly it can be a very easy way to effectively communicate.There is no need to maintain any sort of visual contact or worry about the alignment of your spine. You do not need to raise your voice or shout to be heard. You can CAPITALIZE and embolden.
However, this type of communication does have its problems; one being the lack of emotion present within text. Unless you are an amazing writer who can weave feelings into words with the skill of a seamstress, your words are bound to be misinterpreted at one point. You may offend with a joke that was meant to be laughed at or you may end up volunteering yourself as an entertainer at a kids party, even though clearly you were being sarcastic. But that’s the problem: sarcasm doesn’t transfer well over text. You need that sarcastic smile and that ‘of course I am not being serious’ look on your face to use it properly.
As for self-confidence that is a completely different issue that can be quite hard to deal with. It is a problem that must be resolved within yourself and this can be quite difficult. Unlike in any battle, argument or teenage cat fight you do not have an opponent that you must beat to be victorious. You are your own enemy and you are the problem that you have to solve. All it takes is for you to conquer that voice inside yourself that is holding you back and telling that you can’t do it. You can do it.
In fact, just do it. Take a hint from Nike and don’t think about it. If you are going to get up on stage and make a speech, don’t think about what could go wrong if you forget what to say or if nobody laughs when you crack a joke. You will just make yourself nervous and by the time you’ve finished thinking about it you would have changed you mind and that little voice inside you that you had almost managed to silence would have won. So, just jump off the cliff and then think about why it wasn’t such a good idea afterwards.
Another thing that could help is acting. Don’t be yourself. For that short time that you are trying to do something new, like public speaking, pretend to be someone else. That way, if you stumble, it was not you. If you fall, it was not you. And if you make a complete fool of yourself, it was definitely not you. Although, I suppose when it all goes great and you have conquered your fear then it was all down to your effort and not anyone else’s.
As for other people thoughts, who cares? Do your best. No one can fault you for doing that. If you are happy with your own performance then you shouldn’t care what others may think about you because it is you that needs to be pleased. However, don’t always assume that people are thinking negatively of you. In fact, don’t even assume that they are thinking of you at all. You may be of absolutely no consequence to them and yet you are terrified of what they may be thinking of you.
“We probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.”
So, have the self-confidence to do whatever you want to do and what you can achieve is limitless. No goal is too high if you believe in yourself. I have already started working towards mine:
My presidential speech:
I belive that I am the only candidate present here today that deserves your vote.
I am the only candidate that has all the qualities and the determination needed to lead our country into success.
Success in our economy.
Success in our government
our international relations.
Is that not what our country needs? Is that not what we all want?
A vote for me is a vote for success, so use your vote wisely. Lest we all fail.
What do you think? Would you vote for me?
Okay, so I’m not really preparing to be president. This country doesn’t even have a president but I still have learnt many important lessons from todays session and I hope I have managed to share at least some of them with you. Don’t slouch, jump off cliffs and vote for success.