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2 Easy Steps to Start Becoming Good at Communicating

2 Easy Steps to Start Becoming Good at Communicating

Communication is a critical aspect of success in any part of life, whether it be relationships with your friends, lovers, family, yourself, or with your colleagues and business partners. Your ability to cultivate your communication skills will drastically improve every aspect of your life.

In this article, I’m going to show you 2 easy steps you can begin doing right now to start getting better at communicating with people.

When I came to the United States from the Philippines at 10 years old, I had a thick accent, and I had it all the way until I joined in the Air Force. I was very shy with speaking with people and never became very good at communicating.

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I’ve now spoken in front of hundreds of people, have trained sales teams, and have coached men on dating and relationships wherein the key was becoming a good communicator of ideas, persuasion, and connection.

First, it’s important to recognize that everything is communication, whether you’re communicating it through your voice, your tonality, or your body language. There isn’t a moment that you aren’t communicating. The most important aspect of communication, because it makes up for 70% of what the person’s listening is receiving, is the aspect of your communication that is non-verbal (tonality and body expression).

The interesting thing about this non-verbal aspect of communication is that it isn’t what you’re consciously going to be thinking about. You’re mostly going to be focusing on “what to say.” You must realize that this type of communication is the most important and which mostly affects the person you’re communicating with (90% of it is non-verbal).

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So how do you develop this non-verbal aspect of your communication? You must become a competent communicator. A lot of people worry about being confident. The truth is, you can’t become confident about something you aren’t competent with. The kind of bolstered confidence that is made up from a lack of competence will communicate itself in a negative way through the non-verbal aspect of your communication! In these 2 steps, I’m going to uncover for you how to become a good communicator; you’ll become competent and therefore confident!

1. Competence of communication.

Begin to communicate more as a practice in the sense that it is deliberately a practice—rather than just practicing. If this is one of the most important skills in your life, it goes without saying that it should be taken more seriously.

Begin to communicate more. First, start speaking more openly with the people closest to you (i.e., your close friends and family). Just by deliberately noticing how you speak will make you better. By noticing the things we do that we can ‘”fix,” it’s easy to get better at it—as opposed to not noticing the right and wrong things we do, and thus not knowing what to fix. You see, we don’t see ourselves communicating. In my coaching, I tell my clients to record themselves speaking. It is the fastest and best way to begin correcting those little minute changes in non-verbal communication.

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If in the beginning you don’t know what to say, I suggest you speak openly and honestly about how you feel about that person. If it’s your friend, openly tell them about how you feel about them and specifically for which reasons that you appreciate them. You see, by talking about yourself, not many people would want to listen to you. People absolutely love talking about themselves. Not only will you be getting better at communicating, but you’re now getting better at connecting with people and being authentic, genuine, and honest.

2. Increase your vocabulary.

There is more than one way to see. If you’re able to say something to someone that has opened their mind to a new awareness, they’ll say, “I see!” I equate someones vocabulary to this metaphor:

When you explain something to someone and they say, “I can’t see what you’re saying…” it is because they are looking through a little hole. That little hole is their vocabulary. When you don’t have a representing symbol for a concept or idea, it’s like looking through a small hole and you can’t see much because you can’t understand much. As you increase your vocabulary, you’ll be able to look through a bigger hole and have a much larger view, a much larger perspective, because you’ve now got a much larger understanding.

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There are a few ways of increasing your vocabulary. One of my favorites and one I’ve used and continually use to this day is reading books. I have a set goal of reading 10 pages of a good book every day. I read mostly non-fiction but there are some great fiction books that drive profound concepts and ideas through their stories.

Read it out loud. This trains your tongue (becoming more competent in voice delivery). Play with how you deliver the sound, the rate of speed, and the range of your tonality. It’s especially beneficial for some people who don’t get enough opportunities to communicate with people with their voice.

Go ahead and begin doing this now and notice, in the coming days, how much differently you’ll be speaking.

Featured photo credit: Fox Searchlight via ch2289.wordpress.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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