Speaking Resolution

Five New Year Speaking Resolutions

Happy New Year to you! Have you ever considered making at least one new year speaking resolution?

I love the start of a new year. Almost magically, we feel like we are off to a fresh start. We take a deep breath and hope for new beginnings and happy endings. A speaking resolution is not the type of resolution that may instantly come to mind. Yet your speaking is pervasive every single day. How you speak determines to a large extent how successful your relationships are, and whether or not people buy into your ideas. Why not work on some New Year Speaking Resolutions? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain! Here are my top suggestions for New Year Speaking Resolutions. By regularly focusing on these, you will increase your ability to connect with others. I refer to these principles in my book Speak Connect Succeed – Build Your Reputation As You Speak.

Speaking Resolution #1 –  I will Listen More than I Speak

Listening intently is the first step to connecting with someone else.  I know how frustrating it is to speak to someone who is not listening to me. It is very off-putting. Listening intently involves more than making eye contact and nodding once in a while. By fully focusing on the person speaking, you will be able to hear what they are saying. This means to listen, not simply to pause and to plan your reply. This means to listen and not instantly reply to bring the conversation back to you. You have to listen with your heart, not just your head. When people feel heard, they feel like they matter. When people feel heard they are far more likely to listen to what you have to say. Simply by listening intently, you dramatically increase your ability to connect.

Speaking Resolution #2 – I will Remember that it is not all about Me

No one likes listening to a person who talks incessantly about himself. These people treat conversations like a monologue. Occasionally he might ask you a question. You have hardly started replying and he hijacks the conversations back to his interests, importance and abilities. This person often feels that every conversation in the world relates to her experiences and opinions. Don’t be that person. Take a genuine interest in the person you are speaking to. Speak, listen, speak again, listen again. Take turns to listen, speak and comment. Ask questions that will help you connect. Take time to listen to the responses. When you don’t need to be the centre of attention all the time, others will spend more time talking with and listening to you. You will be able to connect more easily when it is not all about you.

Speaking Resolution #3 –  I will be Immediately Relevant when I Speak

Get to the point – don’t waffle. We are all busy. By getting to the point, you save us all time and energy. Remember to stick to the point after you have made it. Don’t go off on a tangent and start talking about another topic entirely. Getting to the point also relates to the purpose of your conversation. What do you want to achieve with this conversation? Focus on that goal.Be focused, stay focused. Very importantly, be immediately relevant to the person you are speaking to. Remember it is not about you and the game you are playing, it is about your ability to add value to someone else’s game. If you are immediately relevant to them, they have a vested interest in listening to you. When you are not immediately relevant, you will find that the person listening to you becomes restless, looking for a way out. If you are relevant when you speak, the other person will be attentive, engaged and interested. That is the reaction you want – continually be aware of the reaction of the person you are talking to. If their attention wanders, bring your conversation back to a topic that is relevant to them.

Speaking Resolution #4 – I will Validate others when Speaking

Validation is a powerful leadership tool and one that allows us to connect. Take every opportunity you can to validate someone else when you speak. This can take the form of recognising their contributions, their efforts and the encouragement they give the team. Listening attentively to what they have to say is another form of validation. We all thrive on recognition and validation. You can change the dynamics of your team and your relationships with members of your team through validation. Do it authentically and sincerely. You will be surprised what a difference this will make to your ability to connect with people.

5. Speaking Resolution #5 – I will Speak Kindly to Myself

The once ongoing conversation we have is the one we have with ourself. Take note of your self-talk. Be kind to yourself. Validate your efforts and your achievements. Celebrate often. When your self-talk is negative, it impacts your ability to connect with others. If you catch yourself being very critical of yourself – take a moment to find something to be proud of. Focus on that. Listen to positive podcasts, or read motivational books. Keep feeding yourself with positive thoughts and images. When you do this regularly, you will have more to give others.

Thats it – five very simple Speaking Resolutions to the New Year. Simple, but effective. May 2018 be a year you take your speaking to a new level so that you can Speak Connect  Succeed – Build Your Reputation As You Speak.