I DON’T CHOOSE MY BLOG TOPICS, THEY CHOOSE ME.
Typically, conversations I’m having in the entrepreneurial space, things I’m hearing and feeling, and cycles of life give me a message loud and clear that helps me choose a theme for my monthly content plan.
The theme that kept repeatedly coming up for me that inspired this one was how to improve communication as entrepreneurs.
I know, not much to talk about around that, is there?
Communication is an enormous topic as it’s part of most of our lives and interwoven into every single one of our relationships.
Even if you’re the quietest, shyest, most introverted, or antisocial person this side of Tallahassee, communication still affects you.
Let’s start by defining what communication is:
Communication (noun): the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
As human beings, we use communication to get needs met, build relationships, create, share ideas and information, and a lot more.
We spend approximately 80% of our time communicating! For most, two-thirds of that entails verbal communication.
Even when communication is not through the spoken word, it’s still happening through body language, facial expressions, images, written words, hand signals, and gestures, as well as inside your body and mind. As I said, communication is quite a topic!
You can see why I wanted to spend some time focusing on ways to improve our communication, can’t you?
There are ripple effects when we improve our communication.
Learning and improving our communication skills can help us to build stronger relationships, express ourselves more effectively, and make a change and impact in the world around us.
These three keys to improving communication can help you create the ripples and waves you want and to understand yourself and others more deeply through the power of communication.
KEY #1) COMMUNICATION BEGINS FROM THE INSIDE
Whether you’re looking to share your message through content on social media, in a blog, on a podcast, or in Live video, clarity in what you’re sharing is super important.
In addition to clarity, honing in on the essence of the message will help it to be more effective, impactful, and retain your audience’s attention until the end.
When it comes to things you want to share or say and aren’t exactly even sure of your own thoughts or feeling around it yet, you might need to sit with it, contemplate it, or journal on it.
Maybe you’re just looking for some change from a partner, spouse, child, or client and need to express it in a way that demonstrates your needs but doesn’t do them any harm in the process.
Good communication with others is built on the foundation of good communication with ourselves.
We have to listen to what we feel, think, and believe before sending our words out into the world. Well, you don’t have to do anything. But it helps.
When you get clear, sift through what’s true, what’s really under the surface, and what is at the heart of what you’re trying to say, your message comes across in the best way possible.
It might look like trusting your gut, listening to your inner guide, tuning in to your innate wisdom, inner voice, the Universe, etc. It might look like a quality contemplation session with your notebook, a long shower to process your thoughts and feelings, or a walk in the woods with no podcast playing.
Inside-out communication helps us make:
⭐️ Better decisions
⭐️ More change in the lives of others
⭐️ Bigger impact
⭐️ Stronger and more meaningful connections
The first step is to listen to what’s inside you.
KEY #2) YOU DON’T NEED TO SAY EVERYTHING YOU THINK AND FEEL
My friend Karen Kenney shares this notion in an episode of her podcast titled, “You Create Your Own World”. She says, “We don’t have to say (or believe) every damn thing that pops into our head.”
When I was a kid, everyone always knew that Emma (that’s what my friends and family called me) would say exactly what she was thinking. Right as she was thinking it.
I did this because I thought that if an idea or emotion popped in, it must mean, naturally, it was supposed to come out.
(I think I was still trying to figure out the whole self-expression thing and what that looked like.)
As an adult, I’m still a very open book. People often tell me I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I pride myself on being honest. BUT, I’ve also learned as an adult, that not everything that goes on in there is true, factual, and shareable.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever subjected yourself to some self-talk that was just straight-up UNTRUE. And when you repeat it to someone else, they worry about your mental health.
Maybe you’ve looked in the mirror and told yourself some pretty nasty (and untrue) things.
Maybe you’ve sat down at your desk and whispered in your own ear all the reasons you don’t deserve this, can’t do this, can’t be this.
I’m sure I’m not the first to break this news to you but not everything you say to yourself, think, hear, believe, is fact. It’s not all true. And… it doesn’t all need to be said.
- Not all your opinions need to be expressed.
- Not all your feedback needs to be given.
- You don’t HAVE to share with everyone everything that’s going on!
You can choose who you tell, what you tell them, and when.
There are times when I have an opinion or a story about something and it’s just not my time to share it. It could be a timing thing, or it’s totally out of context, maybe this is not the right person to share it with, the mode of delivery is off, I still need to cross-check it for accuracy or pause and get clear on what I’m really trying to say.
Maybe it’s downright hurtful or harmful.
There are all kinds of reasons to wait before saying the first thing that pops into your head.
It’s also ok if you need to take a beat and not know what you want to say yet. As entrepreneurs, it’s easy to think that everyone needs to hear our opinions about everything. And while I agree that we can use our platforms for good and change, we also still get the choice of what we communicate, how, when, and with whom.
⭐️ If you don’t want to share, that’s OK.
⭐️ If you do want to share it, that’s OK.
⭐️ If you simply need to hold off on expressing your thoughts and need to focus on posting about your business right now to get clients and leads, that’s OK too.
You don’t have to, and of course, you can if you want to.
KEY #3) LISTEN
In this article, Krista Tippet writes, “Listening is more than being quiet while the other person speaks until you can say what you have to say.”
“Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability— a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions.”
Communication is a bridge – it connects one person to another, it’s a noun and a verb.
Listening is something I’m always working to practice more in life.
It’s SO frustrating when we’re trying to share, create connection, nurture relationships, spread ideas, messages, and thoughts and someone just isn’t listening.
It’s like having a microphone in your hand and the sound keeps cutting in and out or being on Zoom with bad internet.
Don’t do this to someone else. Cultivate a mindset of deeply listening and paying attention to others, without assumption.
If you want to get better at listening, here’s a super simple way to start.
Ask more questions. Then listen to the answers. Don’t assume, listen.
When my husband and I were first getting to know each other, he lived in North Carolina and I was a billion miles away in France. The phone seemed to never work, and Skype was always a hot mess so we had to rely on text, email, and Gchat to communicate. We got to know each other through long emails about books and questions like, “If you were a kind of shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?” “What are your favorite three songs right now?” “Where would you choose to live if you could go anywhere?” It was a great way to get to know one another and an opportunity to pull back and listen.
In fact, dating my husband was one of the first times in my life I ever felt listened to in a relationship and willingly returned the gesture.
We recently rekindled this fun and got the game Our Moments for Couples. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s 100 conversation starters that we’ve been having so much fun with! It gives us quality time, time to learn more about each other, not assume we know the answers the other person will share. It’s a great opportunity to listen more and improve your communication.
To recap my three communication keys:
- It starts within YOU.
- You don’t need to say everything you think, feel, hear, believe.
- Listening is the key to better communication.
I’ll leave you with this thought today that I saw in a quote that isn’t attributed to anyone I could find:
“Bad communication can end good things. Good communication can end bad things.”
Improving your communication has a ripple effect.
So the question for you is, what kind of waves do you want to be making?
If you’re an entrepreneur and communicating feels a little extra hard right now, and you’re not really sure how to begin, or move forward… I have something for you!
Join me for my next Marketing Momentum Lab a small group program that I run on a regular basis. This is a high-touch, live six-week program that will help you gain clarity and confidence around what’s INSIDE, what you really want to share with whom, how, where, and give you the tools to actually reach those visibility goals you have of getting your message in the right hearts and minds.
I love helping to develop strategies unique to YOU to increase your visibility using out-of-the-box methods and approaches. The world needs you. Your story. More than ever.