Most of us think we have higher than average self-awareness.  But research shows that only 10-15% of us actually have high self-awareness.

As a communication coach, it’s easy for me to convince myself that I’m one of those 10% with high self awareness. But then every now and then I get some feedback, directly, or indirectly, that shows me I have some work to do.

Over the past year, I’ve concluded from my work that elevating your self-awareness is one of the areas where people get the most traction in terms of improving their communication skills and their performance in whatever they do.

And yes, this is backed by research. Self-awareness has a significant positive impact on us in several ways, including improving our confidence, our influence, our creativity, our ability to collaborate, our ability to regulate our emotions, and self-awareness decreases our stress levels and makes us happier.

3 Things to Talk About this week: 

  1. What is self-awareness? 
  2. Internal self-awareness
  3. External self-awareness

Talk About Talk - Episode 148 - Self-Awareness - Andrea Wojnicki - Let's Improve our Self-Awareness - Andrea's Goals for 2024


1️⃣ What is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is about being conscious of our consciousness; a meta-awareness. Self-awareness is recognition of the self.  It is one’s recognition of one’s being, in terms of things like emotions, triggers, reactions, and the impact of those reactions.

This is different from consciousness. Consciousness is a more general term. To be conscious is to simply be aware. To be UNconscious is to have no awareness. So when we’re conscious, we’re aware. 

Talk About Talk - Episode 148 - Self-Awareness - Dog chasing squirrel around a tree, image from Canva

All sorts of animals can be conscious. Your dog.  That squirrel that ran across the street. But that doesn’t mean they have self-awareness.

Self-awareness is also different from self-consciousness. Usually people who are self-conscious are nervous. Self-consciousness is about a negative self-perception.

Let’s dig into the types of self-awareness:

  • Internal self-awareness
  • External self-awareness


2️⃣Internal self-awareness

Internal self-awareness is also referred to as private or introspective self-awareness. It’s about being conscious of your thoughts and your physical body.

It’s both mental and physical. It’s being aware of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires, and beliefs. It’s also being aware of your blood pressure, your physiological stress signals, and your body language.

Talk About Talk - Episode 148 - Self-Awareness - Man speaking on stage in front of podium looking frightened, image from Canva

Here are some strategies to improve your internal self-awareness:

  • Focus on one thing. Eliminate your distractions and listen to what’s going on in your mind. 
  • Focus on your words. Consider the valence of your verbal and your self-talk – is it positive, neutral or negative? Why is that?
  • Focus on a mantra. Come up with a sentence or phrase that focuses your mind on what you WANT to focus on.

A simple way to check in with yourself physically is to run through the 3-Point Body Language Scan.

  1. POSTURE – Are you sitting or standing up straight or are you slouching?
  2. HANDS – Are your hands hidden or are you using them to communicate?
  3. EYES –  Are your eyes shifting around or are you focusing on who’s talking?

There’s a lot more to this, which you can learn about in Ep. 96. In the meantime though, when you’re aware of your body language, consider the 3-point body language scan.

3️⃣ External self-awareness

Talk About Talk - Episode 148 - Self-Awareness - A group of executives working together around a table in a conference room, image from Canva

External self-awareness is public.  It’s social.

There’s a phenomenon called the looking-glass self that I often share with my clients to help illustrate external self awareness. 

Imagine you are a third party, you have a camera and you’re looking down at the situation, watching the players in the room, including yourself, and noticing the impact that you’re having on others. 

If you’ve ever been criticized for showing a lack of self-awareness, it’s probably external or social self-awareness that was being referenced. It’s about how we are perceived by others, and what impact we have on the social dynamic.

When it comes to boosting your external self-awareness, I have 4 suggestions for you:

1. Focus on being empathetic
2. Listen keenly
3. Ask for feedback
4. Record and observe yourself

All of these can help you further develop your communication skills. Try it for yourself! 


There you go – 3 things to Talk About this week:

1️⃣ What is self-awareness? 

2️⃣ Internal self-awareness

3️⃣ External self-awareness

You can learn more about self-awareness by listening to this week’s Talk About Talk podcast Ep.148 on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts and watch it on YouTube!

Please email me or message me on LinkedIn if you’re interested in exploring strategies to help you boost your self-awareness and your communication effectiveness. 

Have a great week.

Talk soon,