When I was a small boy, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a communication super power.
Even if I had, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been at the top of my list of priorities..
Intrigued as to how things may have changed over the last several decades, I ‘Googled’, ‘What are the top 7 superpowers kids want most’.
It won’t surprise you to know that communication still isn’t in the top 7; in fact, not much has changed.
It seems today’s kids still want:
‘Flying or teleporting, 27%.
Mental powers like mind control, or moving things with your mind, 9%.
Super speed, 7%.
A superpower that would allow you to make the world a better place, 6%.
Super strength, 5%.
Magical powers, like Harry Potter, 5%.’
I wanted super strength and super speed just like, ‘The six million dollar man.’
Fast forward to today
Today, with the gift of maturity, experience and a sprinkle of wisdom I wish I had known that communication was also a super power.
Call me a late bloomer because it took me 3 decades but I finally got it.
Most problems in the world globally, personally and professionally stem for poor communication.
As I looked back to reflect and ponder, it occurred to me that the world’s greatest paradox was communication.
Poor communication is the cause of most of our problems and good communication is the key to most opportunities and possibilities.
Everything is affected by the way we communicate:
Healthcare and well being
Technology and social media
What’s the point of teleporting or being invisible, if we can’t even communicate with each other effectively?
It’s a universal challenge because there are so many barriers to effective communication:
We all have different styles, skills and needs.
– Cultural and language differences
– Trust issues
– Listening skills
– Personal agendas
– Using the wrong communication channels
– The grapevine
I could go on
A few years ago I wrote an article called, ‘The 20 reasons everyone needs to communicate effectively.’
In it, I shared my belief that, ‘Life is a 24 hour 365 day a year conversation.’ Passionate that, ‘The ability to communicate effectively and with impact, is one of the most valuable skills in the world today.’ I listed 20 reasons when I’m sure I could have cited 2000.
I started with:
1. To persuade and convince others to do business with you or see things differently.
2. To create a personal impact and be remembered for the right reasons.
3. To develop your own personal confidence and belief in yourself.
4. To climb the career ladder and get the results you want.
5. To grow and develop emotionally, intellectually and even ‘spiritually’.
6. To learn exactly what works for you today in the way you communicate.
7. To identify and practice the opportunities available to you to communicate more effectively and with greater impact
8. To deal with difficult people and challenges with more control and less stress.
9. To be able to resolve conflicts calmly and effectively.
10. To be more influential in your company, industry and marketplace.
11. To be more assertive when you need to be.
12. To lead your team, department or business more inspirationally.
13. To express yourself more effectively emotionally as well as intellectually.
14. To engage, excite and inspire others.
15. To lead change.
16. To create and develop the personal brand you want to have.
17. To get your message across clearly, concisely and compellingly.
18. To connect with others authentically.
19. To ‘win friends and influence people’.
20. To make a difference
That’s why communication is a super power
Unlike teleporting, invisibility or super strength, it’s a super power we all inherently have.
Sadly, many of us weren’t taught to nurture, harness and develop this super power effectively.
One of the surest ways to develop your communication super power is public speaking.
It’s never too late to start
Here are a few of my favourite public speaking tips and techniques that will help tune into and strengthen your communication super power.
Find your voice
“The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play.” Richard Strauss
Give yourself the permission to speak by acknowledging that:
You have a unique voice
You deserve to be heard
No one can tell your story
It’s time to stop playing small
Public speaking is a learned skill
We all have an inner critic
Vocal exercises will literally help
Learn from others
“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” Gina Greenlee
Most of us weren’t even told about our communication super power as children, let alone shown how to use it.
Learn from those who have mastered their own communication super power. Watch and learn from exceptional speakers
Follow Ted Talks
Explore YouTube speeches
Attend conferences and seminars ( in-person and virtually)
Read articles about your communication super power
Pay attention to speakers you admire at work
Overcome your fear
“All those iconic presenters of today were a shy little kid back then.” Aayush Jain
Most people experience public speaking anxiety to some degree; you’re not alone.
Don’t try to be perfect
Focus on building a conversation rather than presentation
Read the following articles:
Make it about your audience
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
The moment you begin focusing on how you can help your audience rather than simply impressing them, everything changes.
Every presentation is about connecting your message with your audience; connecting emotionally as well as intellectually.
Focus on how you can use your voice to make people’s lives:
Give yourself to your audience in the context of reminding yourself that you’re only speaking because you have something to say which can help them.
Watch your body language
“Body language is the most powerful device in the world. It doesn’t lie, it doesn’t fool you and it lays bare the entire heart for everyone to see.” Euginia Herlihy
Remember, your communication super power is not isolated to the words you speak alone.
The way you move and express yourself are critical features of your communication super power too.
Stand with your feet shoulder or hip width apart
Stand straight with shoulders back
Eye contact counts
Make eye contact while speaking
When answering questions make eye contact, with the questioner and the rest of the audience too
Whatever happens, don’t forget to smile
Gestures are good
Let your hands speak. Don’t keep them in your pockets or behind your back.
Let your face speak too. If you’re excited, don’t forget to tell your face.
Movement is energy
Let your whole body move mindfully
If you’re talking about the future, step forward
If you’re speaking about the past, take a step backward
Watch Amy Cuddy’s brilliant TedTalk, ‘Your body language may shape who you are’
Choose your content mindfully
“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.” Jolie Miller
To use your communication super power effectively you have to choose your words and content mindfully.
Make sure your content is relevant and rich
Get straight to the point and focus on it
Be clear on your message
Don’t overload your audience with data
Never read to them
Learn to listen
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey
Contrary to popular belief, communication isn’t just about speaking.
It’s about listening actively too.
Don’t just wait to speak, listen carefully
Listen to the feelings behind the words
Pay attention to words and expressions
Filter out distractions, such as noises or background activity.
Listen without judgments or assumptions
Use gestures and to indicate that you are listening
Don’t try to teleport, read minds or leap tall buildings, focus on making public speaking your communication super power instead.
If you’d like to learn how to develop your communication super power
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training
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