How to Communicate Effectively and Not Fumble

How to Communicate Effectively and Not Fumble

by Swami
(Vizag, India)

Question

Whenever I try to have a conversation with most people, I become confused. I find that I am not able to express my views well. How can I communicate effectively and also more confidently?

Answer

From what I’ve understood from your question, you feel very uncomfortable when you interact with new people.

You are then, not able to express your thoughts clearly. I thought about your situation for some time, and here are some ideas that popped up.

1) Try Communicating With a Lot of People Despite Feeling Embarrassed

If you are not able to express your feelings well, the best way to express them better in the long run is by talking to loads of new people. Whenever you get a chance, try to talk and express your thoughts to a new person. This will be very scary and uncomfortable but if you can do only this – you will definitely be able to communicate with confidence in a month or two.

When I was in my second year of college, I remember feeling very shy and afraid most of the time. I would talk to only two or three people and I would not be able to communicate with confidence with any person I did not know. At that time, I decided to face one new fear everyday. I made a list of tiny fears in a Word document and started doing one thing everyday that made me uncomfortable. I talked to a stranger one day, for instance, despite feeling extremely afraid. I asked a question in class on another day despite everyone laughing at me. Soon, by facing one tiny fear a day, I was able to organize debates and quizzes on a national level.

My purpose in mentioning this is not to boast – but to simply explain – that doing something you are not good at, again and again helps you become better at that thing over time. Currently, there is a high possibility that when you talk to a new person, you feel “inferior” to that person sub-consciously. Maybe, you feel afraid that this other person will judge you and not think well of you. In either case, the only way in which you can communicate confidently and express well – is by communicating again and again with more and more new people. Grab any opportunity you get to communicate with a new person – and talk. You will feel terribly afraid, you will feel embarrassed and most probably you will fail at communicating the first few times – but keep going and you will soon become a better communicator.

You can even conduct a 30 day trial of communicating with one new person every day. This means, you will knowingly make the effort to start a conversation with a person you don’t even know everyday for the next 30 days. This will be extremely scary (as I mentioned before), but if you can do just this – you will find yourself becoming radically better at expressing your feelings.

2) Try Visualizing a Conversation When You Are Alone

When you are alone in your room, try standing before the mirror and imagine having a conversation with another person. Talk as if another person is actually in front of you. After a few tries, you will suddenly have a moment when you will be able to communicate effectively in front of the mirror.

Repeat this activity 2-3 times a day. Sometimes, you can even close your eyes and visualize yourself having such a conversation. As you find yourself communicating well in your imagination, feel the joy of actually having a good conversation.

If you do this regularly, there will come a moment, when you will suddenly find yourself expressing your points clearly in a conversation with another person.

3) Keep Telling Yourself That You Are Amazing

Many times, we are not able to express our thoughts clearly because we become overtly conscious of the other person’s judgements while we talk. So you may be expressing your points and also thinking “I hope this person thinks well of me.” This leads to confusion in your expression of thoughts.

A simple way to avoid feeling afraid of the other person’s judgements is to keep repeating to yourself that you are amazing. Now I know this solution sounds way too simple – and it also sounds weird. But it works! Everyday, whenever you are free, tell yourself that you are amazing. Say to yourself, “I rock! I am cool.” Don’t just say these words – feel the energy in these words when you say them to yourself. You can use Telugu expressions or any other expressions that resonate with you to convey the same meaning. (For instance, you can tell yourself throughout the day ‘nenu keka!’)

As you keep telling yourself that you are amazing, slowly, you will start feeling more confident when conversing with others. As you feel more confident and secure, you will stop thinking of the judgements of other people and focus more on the point you are trying to convey. Communication problems arise when we pay more attention to the other person’s thoughts and less attention to what we are trying to say. This will go away when you really realize that you are amazing.

Overall, if you really try out all of these three things, you should definitely be able to communicate better. I’ve myself been a shy person who couldn’t even talk for two minutes coherently, in the past. Therefore I can vouch for the fact – that it is definitely possible to improve your conversation skills. Just keep talking to more people, visualize yourself talking in a clear way and remind yourself that you are amazing. All the best!

(Here are some posts, a book and an audio that may help:

How to Beat Fear

Why You Should Face Your Top 10 Fears Right Away

How to Become Greater Than You Think You Are

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers)