Communication is an experiment
You come into the world all squeaky new and you start to experiment from your very first cry. The problem is that at a certain point you consign experimenting to the science lab or the odd tasting session or new hair style — but what about the way you communicate?
You need to keep experimenting for life when it comes to communication.
Don’t just take it from me – Thomas Edison championed experimenting:
Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.
How to do a communication experiment in 3 easy steps
- Stop and think
Stopping is not as easy as it sounds. You need to find a space away from the hustle bustle stuff and let your mind wander around. This is what you need to think about: (I don’t want to be too prescriptive because inspiration happens in unconfined spaces)...
What are my defaults when it comes to the way I communicate ?
How do people describe me ?
When do I feel relaxed and when do I feel awkward when I’m communicating ?
2. Record yourself
Scary! Have you ever heard yourself on a voicemail or interview and thought — that doesn’t sound like me — or — so many ums and ers.
You are not alone.
Be brave — and go for the burn. Deliberately record yourself — and deliberately listen. Use your recording app on your phone — easy
What to listen for:
Repeated ‘filler’ words (um er etc)
Tone of voice — is it boring?
Pace of speaking — too fast?
Engaging quality — would you want to keep listening?
3. Try it out
Only when you get the response of the other person or people will you sense whether your new communicating behaviours are working — I mean that is obvious. I do loads of presentations — spend quality time creating them and rehearsing them… but I will constantly tweak both during and after the actual presentation. Communication is not done in isolation.
So — how to try it out in ways that won’t have you banished from society forevermore?
Networking — perfect opportunity to shake it up a bit — in fact you should. Try a different kind of conversation or introduction.
Presentation — after all the quality content creation and rehearsal — try delivering in a slightly different way — not dramatically different maybe — just some variations and tweaks.
Meeting — go on — I dare you. Use your voice differently — doesn’t need to be loud — but with variation in tone and pace you might find a different response. Try using some different words — not your defaults.
The main point here is that you need to keep experimenting with communication — we never get it totally right (there might not be such a thing)… but just like that baby wanted to see what happened when it wailed -you need to keep seeing what happens when you…… (insert new communication behaviour……(don’t wail)….
THINK — DISRUPT — REHEARSE and TRY IT OUT.
Because I am passionate about exploring and trying things out in communication I run exploring kind of events — like the regular Networking/Improv event ‘Explory Story’ — details on my website. Check out the free resources while you are there.