Talk to yourself (it stops you going crazy)

17th November 2015

Fritz Kreisler, the famous violinist, once had a fan approach him, who said:

   “I’d give my whole life to play as beautifully as you just did”

His reply:

   “I did”

And, this lifetime’s practice didn’t involve him just reading the Theory of Music every day. He played the violin. A lot.

It’s the same with Lewis Hamilton. He’s practised driving a lot. He’s spent thousands of hours sitting behind the wheel. Let’s face it: he hasn’t just been reading the Highway Code for years.

So, when you’re talking with others and want to say the right thing, remember the two rules:

  1. Practise…
  2. saying it

In other words, practise saying things out loud. Don’t just read them in your head and assume it will come out of your mouth right when it matters.

And the most important things to practise like this?

Your most critical communications/bits of communications.

Obvious, yes? We all know we should practise our critical communications.

  • But what do I mean by ‘bits’? Well, here are some bits I’d advise you practise. Out loud. A lot:
  • Your opening sentence of a presentation. A great start builds your audience’s – and your – confidence it’s going to be a great use of time
  • Your opening sentence of the meeting. This sets the tone for the whole thing. Which meeting you would you rather attend? One starting “welcome to the meeting. Let me read out the ten point agenda to you” or “welcome to the meeting. The reason we’re here is because – afterwards – we need to be able to do X, Y and Z. And as soon as we can, we’ll finish”
  • In fact, your opening sentence of everything. As you know, first impressions impact everything. So yours might as well be good.
  • Your Elevator Pitch, so you quickly impress everyone you meet
  • Power Questions, so you get the other person talking about the topics you’re most interested in
  • Answers to your Dread Sentences – as I discussed in last week’s Tip, prepare and practise how to respond to the things you dread hearing others say. That way, you don’t dread them any more.

You’ll no doubt be familiar with the famous quote from George Orwell’s Animal Farm – “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

It’s the same with communication – all sentences are equal, but some sentences are more equal than others.

These ‘more equal’ sentences are your start, your responses to challenges and questions, your ability to get them talking, your coverage of contentious topics, how you remove their concerns…

Wouldn’t it be great if, after your next presentations, a colleague said to you:

   “I’d give up a whole hour of my life to generate the excitement that you just did”…

…to which you replied

   “I did”

Action point

Look at today’s diary. identify the most important bits of your most important communications. Practise saying them. Out loud. A lot. It’ll make a huge difference.

And here’s a link to some very useful videos about impactful communications that I practised a lot.

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