How you can use conversation to attract people, ideas and opportunities to increase your business and enlarge your social network.
Welcome to a Communication Culture series on speaking and writing in response to reader requests and questions.
Guess what? Your biggest challenge is right in sync with what I’ve based 30 years of ‘putting words in people’s mouths’ as a public relations advisor and award winning marketing writer. I’ve helped people successfully sell, influence, inform and persuade others on their product or ideas. In my notebook, it all comes down to one powerful communication device: conversation.
Sure, our conversations today take other forms than what most of us grew up with. The basics, however, still apply and together, we’ll start with verbal conversations and once we’re comfortable, we’ll swing back and apply them to written conversations. OK?
Kinks in your communication roadmap!
One twist is the need for speed now. Electronic messaging, a world of 24/7 expectation of service and response is now the norm. The second big bend is culture. Culture is no longer the homogeneous majority we already belong to, aspire to belong to or even want to belong to for fear of losing our unique ‘personal platform’ and connection to our ‘other cultures’.
Your ‘group’ or hangout can be anyone or anywhere. It is glued together by common interests and usually, a voluntary sign up, or sometimes a special initiation.
You and I are together in this, regardless of our age, nationality or station in life. We want to CONNECT with others. To succeed we need to read and respond to the many cultures of interest as well as ethnicity that fill our world. We do that from the moment we ‘log in’ to life in our homes with family, with chosen friends and clients through posts on the computer or lined up for coffee with colleagues. (In time, we’ll get to all the ‘special words’ in single quotes too!)
Where to start?
Why not start with what you know? Yourself. Our recent conversations in the Communication Culture space dealt with self talk. You want to side-step any self defeating self-talk and be your own best ally in life right?
Tips to meet your current challenge
Your temporary lack of work, friends or community may lead to a confidence crisis when changing your ‘context’ like coming to a new community or even country, or to a new job or social situation. To manage your self-talk you:
1. Learn to say ‘ Stop!’ if you catch yourself doing anything to diminish yourself
2. Banish doubt
3. Court only self confidence into your consciousness
• Retrain your self-talk and reframe your responses. For example:
• “Uchhh, another party or networking meeting where I’ll be bored or feel awkward.” … becomes….”I might meet an interesting person.”
• Replace, “Going to meet those people will probably be a waste of time.” …. With … “What have I got to lose?”
Next, identify your strengths. Get yourself ready to go ‘out there’ by having practice conversations with yourself. ‘See’ the place, the people. Imagine the conversations. Think about the reason for going there. See yourself:
Set your goals for an upcoming meeting (or conversation). Do you want to speak? Ask a question?
Reach outside your (possibly worried) personal walls and compliment or congratulate another person.
Accept a positive word from others who may be validating you!
Find the good conversationalists and learn from them by being actively engaged.
Up next? You and I will review how to enter, mingle and move in a room full of people with your new attitude and preparation.
VIP: Very Important Participation note! Have you got questions, suggestions or challenges you want covered in this column (anonymously) please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org PUT: “Communication Culture” in the subject line. Names will not be published but ALL signed letters will get a personal reply from Helena.