One of my favorite LOIS-isms (Lessons, Opportunities, Insights and Solutions) is: “Life is Always Talking, Make Sure You’re Listening.”
Recently, I was nursing a cold and dowsing myself with Breathe Deep, Yogi Tea. Of course, being a motivational speaker, I would buy tea where each bag has its own motivational quote! Sometimes, you just can’t leave the business, even when you’re under the weather!
This one really popped out for me: “Say it Straight, Simple and with a Smile,” which inspired this post.
Nice on paper. Not always so easy to do!
Maybe you were like me, who was one of those see something say something, “she’s 5 going on 50,” kind of kids. You got tons of laughs, accolades, and attention for your quick wit and insightful observations. But then scolded when your “blurts” revealed the shadows of the family secrets or made adults look at something they’d prefer to avoid. If you were like me, you may have been told, “I think you’re imagining things. Maybe you’re being “super sensitive.” Funny how one does a slice and dice when faced with uncomfortable “truths.”
With each “super sensitive,” “imagining things” comment I shrunk just a little smaller and my brazen, confident self started to get buried. I started to hide my SPARKLE.
I know I’m not alone. I hear it from the thousands of people I’ve spoken to. We get the message, loud and clear: don’t be “too” (strong, smart, aggressive, out spoken, opinionated, independent — the list goes on). Most of us contract, in the backdrop of these messages, and start living in the shadows of our true self.
The challenge is that years, often decades, later, the “too much” conversation is rattling around in our heads. Without realizing it, we are literally “tap dancing around our power,” as opposed to owning it. I love helping people, use language to own their power, ask for what they want, and advocate for themselves. A big part of that is to eliminate what are called “qualifiers,” (maybe, perhaps, could, etc.) that undermine their authority, intelligence, and expertise, and can hurt them both personally and professionally. I feel so passionate about this topic that I created a video, called “Don’t Tap Dance Around Your Power…Own it!”
So, in the spirit of Yogi Tea wisdom, and my own LOIS-IZED version of how to “Say it Straight, Simple and with a Smile,” here’s a four-step process to do just that. This process can be used in any situation, from having a difficult conversation, asking for a raise, requesting a favor, or just having a heart to heart.
- Write out what you want to communicate– You may say, “I shouldn’t have to write out a script,” well sorry, I disagree. An actor who is playing a role has a script and you need one too. Why? Because you are stepping into a new role, building a new skill, or developing a new aspect of yourself and writing down what you want to say, is a great tool, to start doing that. Writing out what you want to say, gives you clarity. Better to see it on the page, then have it come out of your mouth and have the person’s eyes glaze or worst, get defensive.
- Practice saying it a few times– You will have a better idea how it lands and how you feel saying it if you allow yourself to say the words out loud. You can even call a friend and say, ‘Hey can we do a mock conversation?’ The more you do it, the more your system will become acclimated, so when you do have the talk it will feel less daunting.
- Keep simplifying the language– The more conversational it is, the more the other person can take it in. Trade in your two-dollar words (which is difficult; I know I LOVE mine) for real human speak, from your heart and your truth, while still knowing your audience.
- It’s all about delivery– We’ve all heard, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Is that ever true! Say it Straight, Simple, and with a Smile.
Where in your life, or your organization could you use some support to communicate more effectively and powerfully to empower yourself while serving the people in your life?
Lois Barth is a Sparkling Funny Motivation Keynote Speaker, Human Development Expert, Coach, and Best-selling Author. She delivers powerful solutions in a playful way! Where there is laughter, there is learning, therefore Lois’s principles and tools for what she calls “trans-fun-mation,” are delivered in a very playful yet powerful way, mixing in thought provoking Lois-isms to enhance learning and retention. Book Lois today. Whether Onstage or Online (Virtual) she is still In Person! https://bit.ly/2K4ljhx