There is one very common practice that inevitably holds back a huge part of the population all over the world. It’s a basic tool we all have to use yet it still strikes fear and anxiety into so many people!
I’m talking about talking.
The way we express our thoughts can help or hinder how effective we are with our spouses, kids, and anyone else we ever interact with! Communication really is key. Through talking we share who we are with the people around us and communicate how we would like things to be done.
If you’re a person to sit and look to friends to explain your thoughts for you, or if you’re resigned to sit and not say anything for fear of sounding silly and inexperienced then this post will help you. If this is an area you require help in then let me tell you you’re not alone.
I’m naturally a shy person, but I’ve been overcoming that fear for the past few years. I’m still naturally a more quiet person, but quiet does not equate with lacking confidence. Confident people can be heavy talkers or light talkers. The amount of words that come from your mouth matter a whole lot less than how you value the things you do say.
Historically, I didn’t value the words I was saying. I was always nervous and never liked the way my words flowed. My thoughts felt solid but the sentences that came out of my mouth connected badly, so my thoughts came across muddled and unclear.
I had effectively become ineffective at talking to anyone outside my inner circle.
You know the inner circle. They’re the people you can talk with via memes, gifs, and inside jokes without ever having to say an actual coherent sentence. And these people understand it all through the gibberish! And that’s awesome! But speaking to new people, old friends, and even communicating effectively with your spouse and kids takes more than a picture of a zesty chihuahua in a sombrero.
To become a master communicator you must be confident in transforming thoughts into words.
What can you do if you have issues turning thoughts into words?
1. Embrace practicing and messing up
Great speakers did not come out of the womb being so wonderful. Everyone in the world had to learn to talk. Whether they were born the type to listen or never be quiet, everyone has had to work on refining their speech skills at some point.
If you’re behind in the speech department that doesn’t have to mean you’ll never speak well. And being afraid to mess up will only keep you behind. How do you gain courage?
Embrace your imperfections! It’s easier to encourage yourself when you fail if you realize you will mess up and you will still survive the day.
There were many times I would add something to a discussion, between my husband and I, and he would tell me what I just said didn’t make sense. Instead of continuing, we would back up and spend the next 10 minutes processing what I had meant to say. This tremendously helped me in figuring out where the disconnect was between my thoughts and my words.
2. Look to your surroundings for conversation starters
You don’t have to start with the deep issues when working on expressing yourself. The world is packed full of interesting things happening and new topics. Try to be observant throughout life and you’ll always have a topic with which to practice your speaking.
These talks don’t have to be shallow “talks about the weather” either! I’ve looked at families interacting and this brought up things I would like to copy or avoid within my own growing family. The world is an easy place to see conversation starters if you’re on the lookout.
3. Speak to the people you enjoy listening to
Is there someone who makes you think “Golly, me ever talk pretty like her?!” Then try to make conversation with her! By spending time with people we desire to be like we get a front row seat at how they express their thoughts and emotions. Over time you can pick up on and begin implementing their habits.
The saying is true, “Pick your friends wisely!” In the end you will end up like them – even in expressing yourself!
Talking to the people you respect the most may be intimidating. But it helps to realize that the people you respect won’t think badly of you for trying to grow. You’ll likely earn some respect from them as they see you take steps toward your goals!
4. Read books
Reading is written words. What else do we use words for? Speaking!
If you are having issues forming your own words, then why not emulate fantastic writers’? Reading allows you to absorb words in a way listening does not. With books you can take your time and pick them up whenever you want.
Hanging out with the people you admire is a great plan, but sometimes you only admire a few people you’re in contact with for their speaking ability. Books are written by people all over the world and from all parts of history! Talk about expanding your inner circle of friends!
You have access to millions of new ideas and millions of ways people have elegantly and decidedly expressed their thoughts. Take advantage of that!
Books also give you lots of conversation starters! A person who reads will have a constant flow of exciting ideas to talk about.
5. Write it out
Anytime that I’m at home and at a loss for words I stick pen to paper and write my feelings out! They may come out in an essay or maybe jumbled lists (occasionally a heartfelt poem). Any way I write it, they’re out there!
Having the feelings on paper clears my head of the emotion. Once the emotional blockage is gone I can work on verbalizing the words much easier.
Prayer is great because you get to practice talking about everything you feel with Someone who doesn’t judge based on your words but on your heart. Saying anything from how your day went to how you feel about trusting God with your problems is completely acceptable – and desired by God, Himself!
When you pray without ceasing through all topics in life you get ’round the clock practice in talking. If you speak to God like you want to speak to friends then you end up learning how to express yourself very well.
These 6 tips are free to use however you want to use them! Mix and match them depending on whatever will work best in your situation. These are simply all the ways that I’ve found most helpful while working on expressing myself more thoroughly. They helped me reach the point where my conversations are richer I can effectively communicate my thoughts.
I hope they help you, too!