Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
We tend to repeat what we are comfortable doing. We often put off trying something new because it is out of our comfort zone. That is why, when it comes to communicating well, you simply need to get out of your comfort zone and do or say something that you aren’t very comfortable with.
Think about the first time you spoke in front of a group, or the first time you drove a car. You were probably nervous and felt uncomfortable. Yet, by doing the activity, you were able to expand your comfort zone and begin to gain a new skill. With practice, you will learn to speak publicly or drive a car with a higher level of competence and confidence than you had before.
It’s the same with all new skills. Sometimes you just need to try it – even though it doesn’t feel comfortable. The more you do that, the easier new skills will become. This is especially true with communication. You will only improve if you become more comfortable with what you may find uncomfortable.
By actually doing something outside of your comfort zone you will gain confidence and competence in that skill and the next time, it will be easier.
Soon the uncomfortable becomes comfortable.
Pick a communication challenge – something that you are nervous about doing or that’s clearly out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s starting a conversation with your boss, asking for something you need someone to do, or admitting to someone that you were wrong.
Now, go out there and try it this week. No procrastinating allowed. Muster up some courage and just do it.
If you’d like to have all 52 Communication Tips, you can order the book of the entire collection. It’s a great tool for weekly staff meetings or family dinners to begin to improve your communications skills, one tip at a time.
Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com.