the 10 day communication cleanup challenge
The 10-Day Communication Clean-Up: A Challenge
How you communicate affects EVERYTHING! It affects how you’re perceived, who you attract (or repel), which opportunities come to you and which ones elude you. Most importantly, it affects how you feel about yourself.
I propose a 10-Day Communication Clean-Up!
It’s very simple. I’ve given you 10 exercises below. On day one, you focus on eliminating one counterproductive communication habit. On day two, you focus on eliminating a second communication habit (in addition to the first one), and so on. If it helps, you can keep a journal and write down the habits that you discover that you have each day so you can continue working to eliminate them. As you’ll see, the exercises vacillate between verbal and non-verbal habits, from day to day. I did this purposely to keep you on your toes.
In ten days, you’ll be communicating more powerfully, positively and effectively. Keep this up and it should change how you feel about yourself, how others respond to you and quite possibly your bank account.
Day 1: No negative self-talk.
This is a rule I have when people work with me. No negative self-talk is allowed. It’s not productive, it’s disempowering and it reinforces a belief you don’t want to hold about yourself. So, no jokes allowed about your weight, your intelligence, your ability to handle money, etc. Every time you hear yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and say, “That’s not true. I used to believe that, but I know better now.”
Day 2: Stand tall.
Just changing your posture can change how you feel instantly. People who appear confident are given greater opportunities and the last to be targeted to be victims of crimes or scams. In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it was found that our posture affects not only how we’re perceived by others, but how we think about ourselves. (Richard Petty, Pablo Brinol and Benjamin Wagner conducted this study.) There are also physiological benefits to good posture that are too numerous to list here.
Day 3: No putting down others or spreading your limiting beliefs to them.
This means that you don’t tell anyone anything that you think is negative or wrong with them. Or, even if someone comes to you with an idea that you think is crazy, you don’t tell them why it won’t work. If you want to guide them, ask if they want you to advise them and then do so by pointing out things they may need to consider. Your openness will make you “a safe place to be” for your friends, colleagues and anyone who’s around you.
Day 4: Smile more.
Most people could smile more than they do. This doesn’t mean that you always have to wear an ear-to-ear grin, but smiling at people, even strangers, can open a lot of doors and start a lot of conversations…perhaps with a new client or love interest. Smiling releases endorphins and improves your mood, all of which will make your communication and energy level greater.
Day 5: No gossiping, even about celebrities.
Anonymity sometimes allows people to feel okay about saying negative things about others, but it doesn’t really make you feel good does it? When you gossip, do you think it raises or lowers others’ opinions of you? People who truly feel good about themselves, don’t need to put others down, even anonymously. Also, if people hear you gossiping about others, don’t you think they’ll wonder what you say behind their backs?
Day 6: Maintain good eye-contact.
We’ve all heard that when we’re speaking with people we should maintain eye contact to demonstrate respect and to appear confident. However, the need for eye-contact goes much deeper. So much meaning comes through in someone’s non-verbal communication that actually looking at a person will help you gain greater understanding of the subtext of what they’re saying. Their non-verbal facial cues can even tell you whether or not they’re being fully truthful with you. In this age of so many distractions, people seem to feel very free to look at their phones, computers, etc. mid-conversation, which is what leads me to Day 7.
Day 7: Be fully engaged and fully present.
Communication is just as much about listening and observing as it is about talking. Practice being fully engaged in a conversation and fully present in the moment. If you feel your mind drifting off, focus more intently on the person you’re speaking with through greater eye-contact if you’re face-to-face of by shutting out all other visual distractions if you’re speaking with someone on the phone. A few deep breaths will bring you more fully into the moment, too. And please, no texting while people are talking to you. It’s the non-verbal equivalent of saying “You’re not interesting enough to hold my attention.”
Day 8: Take a beat: don’t jump into reaction mode.
If someone says something that ruffles your feathers, allow yourself a moment to think before you speak. Then, before you prepare to say something, ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve with this communication?” Most times, you will probably not want to escalate an argument or heated discussion, so your goal with your communication may be to defuse the situation or to bring clarity to it. Giving yourself that moment to see where you want the conversation to go will help you communicate more clearly.
Day 9: Watch your step.
Really pay attention to how you move and the signals you give off with your body language. People notice where your feet are pointing (which can indicate where you want to go or how comfortable you feel), what your hands are doing (which can indicate nervousness, assuming control and a multitude of other things), and what the rest of your body is doing. Have you ever seen someone start to shift in their seat and point their body toward the door near the end of a meeting? This is classic “leaving behavior.” People pay attention to it. They also observe how you walk and move as indicators of your overall pace in life.
Day 10: Don’t be afraid to touch…appropriately.
The power of touch cannot be overestimated. People generally feel more connected to you emotionally when they are touched by you physically in an appropriate way. This can mean a firm handshake in some situations or a hug or even a touch on the arm or shoulder. Know what’s appropriate for your situation (in some workplaces and some cultures almost any form of touching could be considered sexual harassment, so be cognizant of this), and then let your warmth flow.
Extra credit: Compliment a stranger.
Have you ever been out in public and NOT experienced something worth complimenting–a great pair of shoes, a cute baby, or great service from a store clerk? It’s amazing how much you can make someone’s day by simply expressing what you’re already feeling.
Guest Post provided by PR expert, Lisa Elia
Lisa’s interest in the field of public relations began early: she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication with a public relations focus from the University of Delaware and has spent most
more than 20 years continuously building upon the strong foundation of her education. In 1990, after working for other firms, she formed Elia & Associates, a small marketing-communications firm in Wilmington, Delaware.
After working with many corporate clients, Lisa knew that her calling was elsewhere. After a brief stint in New York, Lisa moved to Los Angeles and founded Lisa Elia Public Relations in 1998, with the promise to herself to only work with businesses and people she feels passionate about helping.
To find out about our Woman of Influence Program, visit www.womanofinfluencevip.com
For information Lisa’s Meet the Media Day, visit www.mediadayla.com