Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Do you feel like you are not only heard but also understood? In other words, do you get what you ask for? I often find that people, especially women, lack the skills to truly get their message across.
Sometimes it’s a self-worth issue. Women often don’t believe they deserve what they are asking for, so they hold back, falling short in conveying what they truly mean or making a full request. Perhaps they are holding on to old adages, such as “women should be seen, not heard.” Other times, they simply lack effective tools to use their voice, and ultimately, their personal and professional relationships suffer. To create solid connections with others, it is important to learn how to communicate well. In doing so, you will get what you need. You’ll also create stronger relationships, become more efficient, build trust, create a feedback loop, enhance your self-esteem, and feel energized.
The art of learning to convey information, thoughts, feelings, desires, and opinions, while at the same time creating the intended impact, is a skill that can be developed. Everyone relates to someone else, so having the ability to say what you want, and be heard on the other side without fearing judgment, benefits everyone.
I once had a coaching client who believed she deserved a raise. After she gathered her facts, we practiced conveying her message, allowing her to find her authentic voice with clarity and certainty. In the end, she not only got her pay raise, but also created a stronger belief in her own self-worth and power.
Here are some guidelines to sharpen your communication skills and empower yourself with your voice:
Be Clear With Yourself
Ask yourself first, what is my truth in this situation? Is this what I truly think, or am I just trying to please someone else? Notice every time you use the word “should.” Is it truly what you want or a different version of what you think you are supposed to do, say, think, or feel? Learn to use discernment.
Ask provocative, interesting questions so you can learn as much as possible without it being an interrogation. Don’t make assumptions by not asking. Try asking just one more question. If you can’t think of anything, ask yourself, “Is there more?”
Speak from the heart. Encourage reciprocal communication so both parties have a chance to speak, be heard, and be honored. Learn about the other person and respect what’s important to them. Use “I” statements and practice mirroring. Mirroring is a way to bond and convey understanding; in other words, say back to the person what they said to you to confirm a verbal exchange.
Make a conscious decision to listen with all of your senses, stay in the present moment, and fully concentrate on what is being said (and not said), rather than just passively “hearing” the message of the speaker. Active listening works to understand the message and point of view of the speaker, gives verbal and nonverbal feedback, and suspends judgment until hearing the complete message.
Ask for What You Want
If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. Strive for concise and courageous communications. If you do not get the desired outcome, do not take it personally. Do not allow your self-worth to change based on rejection. No one can take away your self-esteem except you.
Build a strong internal sense of self and allow others to see it. Speak with conviction and passion, and be your own best advocate. Create credibility with direct eye contact, a strong handshake, verbal connections, and being content with silence. Practice being the expert and honing your skills with a friend or coach. Even if you are scared, do it anyway.
Take responsibility for yourself and make your words count. Use your true voice clearly, confidently, respectfully, and effectively. Don’t write an email or text when a conversation by phone or in person is better. Show up and use your voice fully.
Being able to authentically communicate what you know, how you feel, and what you need is one of the best personal and professional assets you can have. As author Robert Muller wrote in the poem Decide to Network, “Use every letter you write, every conversation you have, every meeting you attend, to express your fundamental beliefs and dreams.”
Speak your truth and come from your heart, because the world needs to hear what you have to say. If you need more tips on staying true to yourself, you can now download my free e-book, Be Who You Are: Six Ways to Excavate Yourself, by going to www.excavive.com and signing up.
Jennifer Blair is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.