Today, I advise the management of many companies. I have found a common theme among people managing businesses and organizations; most need more effective communication skills. Americans reveal much about themselves at business meetings and in casual conversation. To the trained eye, it is easy to observe them as they swim out of their lanes and stray into someone else’s business. I was one of those unfortunate people; in the pool but out of my swim lane. I consistently compared my lifestyle and status in the community against the lifestyle and quality of my colleagues.
My “conversations” were mindless small talk rather than “communication.”
How is your day going so far?
Got big plans for the weekend, going on vacation, and where?
Is anything exciting going on in your world?
When you travel to Paris, what do you enjoy best?
I was boring colleagues, and they were boring me. My mindless small talk could have been more frustrating. I had no idea how to get into my swim lane.
My wish to get out of my conversation rut eroded my spirit. I realized that I had a lot of work in front of me to get back in my lane.
I had a business to run and needed to improve my leadership skills and management style. I was surprised to find out that enhancing my communication skills was the key to improving my leadership skills and management style.
My first step was to read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
As I read Carnegie’s book, I realized that people prefer doing business with people they know, like, and trust. I recommend this book to you; applying Carnegie’s advice will enhance your self-awareness and personal confidence, making you more likable and improving your life exponentially.
Many years ago, my business ventures were “coining money” like I never thought possible. I patted myself on the back, taking all the credit for success. Then one day, I woke up to the fact that my many capable employees made my bottom line look terrific. I appreciated what my colleagues were doing, but I needed to fully understand how significant their contribution was to the bottom line. It dawned on me: It is all about the people and how I interacted with them.
My attitude had been that I provided employment; my employees were lucky to have those well-paying jobs.
I did not know what I did not know. I was unaware of what I needed to know to continue to stay “in the chips.” Only years later did I realize I was responsible for becoming a better leader and manager of my employees.
I was guilty as charged. I sported a 10-gallon hat but no ranch, no cattle. I was living from the outside in, not from the inside out.
I was in a constant whirlwind trying to prove that I was good enough to run with the established moneyed folks; I sported brown shoes, open-collared shirts, skinny blue jeans, and a Range Rover.
Look at me, and I am making money.
I am successful. I thought I had arrived but didn’t realize I had much more to learn.
What I did know was that something was missing. I had the income, bank account, and all the accouterments of wealth, but I felt empty. I was running with the wealthy crowd but needed the self-confidence they all seemed to have. I watched with envy as they easily conversed at cocktail parties and offered witty toasts and comments at local high society events. I felt anxious in their presence; I worried I was not good enough to be among them. I realized I had to focus on figuring myself out and what was missing.
I met with a psychologist. I had a place to go each week to put all my experiences, learned in the school of hard knocks, on the table. I felt better having a place to hash out my problems, a place to discard my heavy baggage and lighten the load.
My therapist was a trained and skilled listener. I left his office with lots of homework. He advised that I read certain books; expand my vocabulary by frequently using a dictionary; write thank you cards; take frequent notes, read the newspaper comics; take piano lessons; attend the opera, live theater, and symphony; and learn a second language. Okay, I heeded all the advice little by little and began to study French.
My therapist then gave me the advice that sent me on the road to transforming my life. He advised that I “find my voice” and overcome my speech anxiety. That simple prescription, “find my voice,” was to transform my life.
I frequently complained about the volume of homework I was to do between our visits. But then, et voilà, I realized doing the homework had the effect of rebuilding myself from the inside out.
I enjoyed reading and, as a result, read many more books than the therapist assigned. I sought out books; the number of books I have read over the last twenty years is astounding – at least one new book each week.
Today, I am sharing with you that the homework assigned by my therapist, which I thought was a burden, was not homework in the usual sense. I was given the exercises that, in effect, were exercises to discover who I was – to help me find myself. A fantastic gift, the fabulous gift of showing me the path to becoming the best person I could be.
Finding my voice (overcoming speech anxiety), learning how to speak French, and reading books on psychology, history, and biographies of people who have made a difference in their communities, countries, and in the world, inspired me and gave me the direction needed to help make me a thoughtful and effective leader and manager.
We all entertain ourselves by attending cultural events, sporting events, parties, clubs, and such. While that is all well and good, growing ourselves is paramount.
Growing ourselves results in the overall enjoyment of our lives and the success of our business ventures.
When we grow, we reconnect with our youth and revitalize our lives. We connect with friends, family, and colleagues whose lives, in turn, are revived. Finding oneself is contagious.
Working on myself to become a better person has helped me become a better leader and manager in my business or wherever I go.
The better I feel about myself, the better people I am attracted to at work, home, and play.
When we feel better about ourselves, we quickly make friends at any age.
On the path to feeling better about oneself, consciously finding your voice
is the first place to start.
Finding our voices makes us better bridge builders to connect and communicate with others.
When we find our voice, we are naturally more confident, conveying that we have deep knowledge of what we are talking about, which leads to trust and connection with others.
We have the confidence and self-esteem to be open, genuine, and authentic because we feel good about ourselves.
When we are confident speakers, people believe in us and beat a path to our door.
Most people would rather die than give a speech if given a choice. Their “speech anxiety” trumps their quiet desire to be able to stand up at a personal or professional event and express their thoughts.
The process of finding one’s voice delivers immediate value;
the first step taken is one step closer to overcoming speech anxiety.
We begin the enriching personal and professional development journey as we become good speakers.
Most (estimated at 80 to 90 percent) of the US population suffers from speech anxiety.
These people consistently give others golden opportunities to express their hopes and fears.
Once we find our voice, we will be eager to jump to our feet when the opportunity presents itself. We will never again carry the burden of regret at failing to express our thoughts; you will never again say, “I wish I had said something.”
Many of us are in leadership positions or owners of businesses. When we have found our voices, there will be no need to ask others to speak for us – we will eagerly stand and take the lead. When we must execute our vision or state our mission, we will rise to the occasion.
As you can see, finding our voice is empowering!
Virtual Speech Therapy is the Best Option for Communication Disorders(Opens in a new browser tab)
When the opportunity to speak arises, those who have found their voices exude confidence and charisma.
They become “people magnets;” they find success in their personal and professional lives.
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