At key encounters, do you find yourself nervous? Maybe adding unnecessary words onto your sentences? Afraid of any gaps in the conversation?
Here are 4 tips that may help:
1. Be comfortable with silence. If there’s nothing to say, don’t force it. People will take notice more when they know what you say has a purpose. Speak to be understood, not heard.
2. Slow down. When there is a feeling we may be being ignored, we tend to try and get our thoughts out in a hurry before someone loses interest. This can have the opposite effect, but if you slow down, and even speak softer, you invite people to focus more on what you’re saying and allow time to relax and let the conversation happen.
3. While driving, challenge yourself to give a 5-minute seminar to yourself about any topic. Speaking to yourself (as crazy as it might seem) allows you to just talk without the pressure that comes with an interaction and allows you to take risks, try new things, practice scripted jokes etc. while also allowing you to stop, restart and correct yourself where YOU see fit.
4. On your way to a potentially stressful situation, try singing along to a favourite song. This can warm up your vocal chords and start the words flowing, almost like reciting a script you know off by heart.
As an old Rugby coach once said, practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.