We’ve all been there…that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach when you’re about to give a big presentation, fearful that you may blow it. The hesitation that grips your chest when you step into a party and you don’t know a soul, dreading the moment you have to introduce yourself. Most of the time, when we’re out of our comfort zone…it’s uncomfortable! For some people, those same situations seem effortless…enjoyable, in fact.
Ah…yes, the gift of the gab. Some people are born with it, others come to it by practice. But the gift is not the ABILITY to gab, it is the ACTION of communicating. Every person on this planet has a gift to give and when we learn to communicate effectively, we are able to share our gift with the world.
So, how can it be easier to stand up and start talking?
1. Give yourself permission to be fabulous. That’s right, you are the star of your own life and the sooner you start regarding yourself that way, the better. Forget peering at limp People magazines lying around your dentist’s office. The fascination with stardom has left our society crippled. Judging yourself against a photo-shopped lay-out of famous people walking their dogs, simply drains your personal energy. YOU are fabulous, in your own unique way. When you embrace that notion, you create a magnetic presence. TIP: Write down ten things you love and admire about yourself. Read that list everyday. When you focus on your fabulousness, others will too!
2. “I am an incredible public speaker.” This is your new mantra. If you change your story, you change your life. When you think about a public speaking opportunity, this needs to be the first thought popping into your mind. Write this statement on post-its and place it all over your house, your car, anywhere you can see it, as many times a day as possible. You are creating a new imprint in your mind and even if you don’t believe it at first, you will in time. TIP: If you have a negative thought arise, stop yourself and repeat “I am an incredible public speaker.” You are training your mind, and it will take at least two weeks to make the switch. Practice pays off, so stick to it!
3. Tune In. There are opportunities to speak up all the time. When you remove your hesitation about public speaking, you can begin to look for chances to speak at every turn. Why? Because who knows what will come of it?! A new job, a promotion, a new contact…perhaps a new love interest? The possibilities are endless, but you need to regard the effort with JOY, not FEAR. Now that you have trained your mind to think positively about public speaking, you can begin searching for your chance to seize the limelight. TIP: Find at least one opportunity a week (unplanned) to speak your mind. Start with a no pressure situation, like chatting with a stranger, and gradually raise the stakes…a work meeting, an important toast. Make it a game. Trust me, you are already the winner.
4. Open yourself up to the world. Head up, shoulders back, and eyes forward. Simple directions that create wonderful results. When your body is open, you silently communicate that you are READY to tackle life’s challenges. You are available to take people in. If your arms are crossed, shoulders slouched over, eyes withdrawn, you are cut off from the world, hiding behind your own uncertainty. Now is the time to check in with yourself and choose to change. TIP:Notice how you hold your body in different situations. If you find that you are closing yourself off physically, subtly change your posture. Feel the difference. How does the world respond?
5. Now, settle down and listen. Yes, you will taste the thrill of speaking soon enough and when you do, you will likely want to go on and on in front on everyone you meet, but remember, the art of effective communication involves LISTENING. People love it when you pay attention to them. Take in your surroundings and give someone the gift of your UNDIVIDED ATTENTION. This one act alone will make people love and appreciate your presence. TIP: Go to a meeting and purposely do not take your cell phone. Focus your attention entirely on the conversation, removing any possibility of personal distraction. You may think you do that already, but c’mon… aren’t you in the car next to mine making the phone call?
You already have the gift of the gab, so go and give your gift to everyone on your list!