Change bad habits using mindfulness skills

Word cloud about mindfulness

This is iSpeak Clearly’s third article in a series on mindfulness and mindful awareness of speaking. Find the first article here.

 

In my last post, I discussed how you can learn to become aware of your speaking habits and how you communicate. You must pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, so you can decide where you need improvement in your speech and communication.

After paying attention to your speech, have you identified characteristics of your speaking style that you appreciate? Are there aspects of your speech you would like to modify? 

In this article, I talk about the general steps for making changes to improve your speaking skills (with some comparisons to baking that might have you reaching for a cookbook). Then, in next month’s article, I’ll look at using mindful awareness to create new speaking habits.

3 simple steps to prepare for change

1.  Identify what you want to change
You can’t change something unless you know what it is. Sometimes it is hard to pinpoint exactly what needs to be changed to achieve the results you want. A communication expert can assist with this by understanding your concerns and goals, and then identifying the steps necessary to reach them. You may wish to change your loudness, pitch, pronunciation, or body language, to name a few.

Compare it to baking: As a novice baker, you might realize the bread you bake isn’t as airy as the bread from your favorite local baker. Consult the baking expert to pinpoint your mistake and learn how to improve.

2.  Identify the “why”
Do you want to improve your communication confidence at work, achieve a leadership role, or develop better relationships with clients? Each of these three outcomes might require a separate communication skill set. Thus, knowing the “why” behind what you want to change in your speaking habits will provide a framework for identifying skills to develop.

We can again compare it to baking: Do you want to make cookies, a pie, or bread? All three are baked goods, but you need a different skill set to prepare each one. If you decide you want to bake bread, you’re better off learning to knead dough than to roll out a perfect pie crust.

3.  Acquire new skills
With proper coaching, you can acquire new techniques to master your speaking goals. Learning proper techniques is crucial when you are trying to create new habits. (If you practice something incorrectly, you are forming another bad habit that will need to be changed later.)

Coaching, guidance, and support are important to ensure your practice is perfect. Pick up a copy of Beard on Bread before you start mixing flour, water, salt, and yeast.

Watch for next month’s newsletter, when I will discuss how to use mindful awareness to create new speaking habits.