How are your 2023 New Year’s Resolutions going?

For many of us (myself included), the challenge isn’t setting goals or INTENTIONS; it’s turning them into HABITS

Say you’ve just read a book or listened to a podcast that resonates with you, and you decide you want to implement what you’ve just learned.

How do you make that happen?

I get this question a lot from my coaching clients. I just received an email from loyal Talk About Talk listener “Mark M.,” who asked me, other than joining Toastmasters (which he did!), how else can he improve his communication habits?

These conversations inspired me to create a Talk About Talk podcast episode focused on how to IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION HABITS.

Talk About Talk #120 - Improve Communication Habits - quote by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, on a dark blue background: "A habit is a routine or behaviour that is performed regularly and, in many cases, automatically."

In the context of communication skills, the habit you’re trying to adopt probably falls into one of these three categories:

1️⃣ A MINDSET, for example, a mantra to boost your confidence.
2️⃣ A WORD or PHRASE that you’d like to use more often (or avoid).
3️⃣ Something PHYSICAL, related to body language, like making eye contact.

Regardless of the new habit you’re trying to adopt, you have to remember to do it, right?

I call this CUEING YOURSELF. James Clear (“Atomic Habits“) calls it making it OBVIOUS.

image shows the cover of Atomic Habits by James Clear

The premise of Atomic Habits is that you can make significant changes in your life by making small, atomic changes every day by doing 4 things:

1. Making it OBVIOUS
2. Making it ATTRACTIVE
3. Making it EASY
4. Making it SATISFYINGFor me and the clients I talk to, we have no problem with 2-4. We are highly motivated, and it’s not an insurmountable task. Rather, it’s an issue of recall.So how do you make your habit obvious? How do you cue yourself?

Write it down!

I do this all the time. The point is to get the new habit in front of you at every opportunity.

Here are 5 easy places to write down your communication habit. Try starting with two or three. 

1️⃣ Write it on your COMPUTER

I did this when the pandemic started and I needed to up my online communication fast. I wanted to get into the habit of looking directly at the camera when speaking. So I drew an arrow on a card and taped it to my laptop, pointing at the camera.

Talk About Talk #120 - Improve Communication Habits - image shows a black laptop with colourful post-it notes stuck to the screen.

Image by wragg via Canva

2️⃣ Add it to your BULLETIN BOARD

Write out the mantra, word/phrase, or physical behaviour in a lovely large font and place it somewhere you won’t miss it, like on the wall next to your desk, or on your bulletin board.

3️⃣ Put it on your TO DO LIST

I use the Notes app in my phone to keep track of everything I need to do, so I look at it at least 20 times a day. This is a perfect spot to add a new mantra or other habit I want to adopt.

Talk About Talk #120 - Improve Communication Habits - image shows the Notes app with the heading "To Do List," followed by "1. My new communication habit!"

4️⃣ Make it a BOOKMARK

If you’re an avid reader, turn your communication habit into a bookmark that you’ll see whenever you open your book. And if you’re more of an e-reader or audiobook person, write it on a notecard that you keep in your wallet.

5️⃣ Turn it into a SCREENSAVER 

I know some people who changed their screensavers to their mantras and found it really helpful. Similarly, you could also save a few words to your phone’s home screen, reminding you of your communication habit whenever you pick up the phone.

Which of these 5 ideas do you think will work for you?  Do you have other ideas?

How else can you cue a new habit?

I hope these suggestions help you to improve your communication habits by moving from intention to real change. 

Please forward this email to your friends and colleagues who might be interested in improving their communication skills. THANK YOU! 

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please email me anytime.  I love hearing from you.

Talk soon,

Learn about 1-on-1 COACHING with Andrea,
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