5 Ways To Push Your Communication Skills Comfort-Zone.
6 min read
What you’ll learn:
- Why improv builds unbeatable confidence.
- Using a monologue to stretch your communication skills
- How and why to host a workshop.
- Speaking up live on social media.
Watch the video summary below:
Communication skills take practise.
When was the last time you pushed your communication comfort-zone?
For many of us, that might mean delivering a presentation, or even simply making a difficult phone-call.
Like any form of comfort-zone, when we settle for what’s easy – we stop developing.
It’s exactly the same with communication skills. If you’re not willing to voluntarily push beyond what’s comfortable, eventually someone else will push you instead!
Rather than dreading the day you can no longer hide from that big presentation, why not step forth with courage, and start developing your confidence now?
Here’s five alternative ways to start pushing your communication skills comfort-zone. Try these, and when that big speech, pitch or presentation finally comes – you’ll be ready for it.
Test your communication nerves by attending an improv class.
If you want to become a master at thinking on the spot and keeping your cool under pressure, there’s few better ways than doing improv.
As a professional actor I’ve used improvisation many times in rehearsals and training. My first real experience at an improv class happened by chance in Edinburgh a few years back, when I was invited to attend a local improv night.
After putting my name in a hat, I was called out at random to take to the stage with two others. We were given a subject matter and told to – go!
Despite my acting experience, it was daunting to stand in front of a room of people with NO idea what I was about to say or do. We ended up creating a whole scene about a jewel heist that goes wrong – it was an incredibly exciting and fun experience.
But watching the real improv masters was even more impressive.
Check out this video below for a great example.
It’s difficult not to start smirking, and even harder not to admire their quick ideas, imagination and sheer self-confidence.
The trick of improv is to get extremely comfortable with not knowing what will happen next.
When public speaking, it’s often these moments of ‘unknown’ that trip people up. Losing your train of thought, seeing the powerpoint go black, or being asked a question you weren’t prepared for.
Training in improv can give you a real edge in all kinds of public speaking scenarios.
Not only will your brain actually get better at thinking quickly and acting on impulse, but you will feel a much deeper self-belief from knowing whatever happens, you can handle it.
Discover Your Charisma Score!
- Confident Mindset
- Compelling Content
- Engaging Delivery
Challenge yourself to speak up, live on social media.
Isn’t it incredible that our everyday apps allow us to broadcast ourselves live to hundreds of people?
Something that once required thousands of pounds of studio equipment is now available to everyone freely via facebook, instagram or youtube!
Hitting the “LIVE” button might be simple, but it can also be terrifying.
You have no idea who might start watching, or how many people will tune in.
If you don’t have many opportunities to challenge your communication comfort-zone, then this is your “no excuse” option!
Getting used to flipping the camera and talking live on camera is a great way to quickly build both your competence and confidence as a public speaker.
We often ask our clients to record themselves speaking. It’s a powerful way to practise and improve your communication skills, but speaking live on video adds an extra level of challenge.
Not only do you have a real audience of people watching, but you are open to receive questions and feedback.
To give yourself some added accountability, try commiting to going live each day for 5 days. You can talk about any topic that you wish, but it’s helpful to have a theme or structure.
- Give 5 different professional tips on your industry or profession.
- Tell 5 short stories from your life – they could be serious, humerous or meaningful.
- Talk about a favourite hobby, and share your best advice for getting into it.
It can be anything that you’re interested in and happy talking about.
Keep it simple, keep it short, and don’t overthink things.
It might feel awkward and uncomfortable to begin with, but you’ll experience a huge boost in self-confidence from commiting to a challenge like this.
You’ll also be likely to build new connections, make contact with old friends, and maybe even inspire someone to take up the challenge themselves.
Memorise your favourite poem or monologue.
In acting terms, a monologue is a single character speaking that usually follows a train of thought, or story.
It’s actually much more challenging to perform a monologue than a scene with two or more characters, as in a monologue, everything is down to you.
The key to doing it well is variety. The actor needs to have both light and shade in their performance – saying lines with different intentions, intensity and emotions.
If you’ve never acted before, trying this can feel like a real stretch. We’re not used to communicating so freely in day-to-day life. But doing so can be a powerful way to develop your speaking skills.
Just as with a monologue, when we speak in public we usually do so alone. All eyes are on us, and it’s down to us to keep everyone engaged and listening. So that same variety of intentions and emotion is needed.
Find a monologue, or poem, and practise delivering it in as many ways as you can. Start by thinking of the following things:
- Setting – Where is this monologue taking place? The character might be speaking in a grand hall, or waiting at a bus stop. They might be speaking to one close friend, or to a whole crowd.
- Status – What does the character think of themselves? Status refers to how high up you are in the pecking order. A king might have high status, whereas a servant has low status. But if the tables are turned and the king needs the servant to survive, suddenly their status is switched.
- Emotion – What is the character feeling? Emotions don’t remain constant – consider how the character’s emotion changes throughout the monologue. They might start out angry only to become joyful, or begin with excitement and end with fear.
- Objectives – What does the character want? There is a reason the character is saying those words. They might want to be loved, want to be feared, or want to be understood. They might want to inspire joy, or inflict pain.
Think about all of these different factors and play around with them.
There are no right or wrong answers. Remember you’re not doing this to get a role on the West End – you’re doing it as an exercise in expanding the range of emotion and passion that you’re comfortable communicating.
You’ll soon begin to notice a subtle but definite shift in your speaking skills.
You might feel more confident when gesturing, more free to move around the stage, or more able to speak with passion and enthusiasm.
Have a go by finding a monologue here.
Host a workshop for your colleagues.
Your first thought might be: “what would I even talk about”?
Or, “what qualifies me to train others?”
All of us know something that others want to learn.
Maybe you know how to use a specific piece of software, how to write a great email, or how to journal for self-awareness.
It can even be something you’re not an expert in but want to improve, such as hosting a workshop on creative writing where you facilitate set activities, while taking part yourself.
Workshops can be as little as 30 minutes over lunch or after work, and with only 2-3 people attending – there are no set rules.
Your next question might be: “how does that help my communication skills?”
Hosting a workshop is a great way to build your confidence on stage, without the pressure of delivering a full speech.
That’s because as a host, you’re facilitating the experience but not always at the centre of it.
You might invite others to speak, lead a discussion, or facilitate questions. But all the while you are clocking up “stage hours” and becoming increasingly comfortable speaking to groups of people.
You’ll also develop a range of associated skills; listening, explaining, leading and managing different people.
Once you have a topic in mind for your workshops, follow these quick tips to get started:
- Keep it simple – don’t try to give people an entire course on investing. Instead, walk them through the three steps to make their first investment.
- Facilitate, don’t teach – people learn through doing, so ask questions, set group discussions and engage people in activities where they’re actively involved.
- Give feedback – once people have tried the activity or completed the set tasks, give them some feedback. Tell people where they’ve done well and how they can further improve.
What will your workshop be about?
Decide today and then make it happen. Not only will you be pushing your communication skills comfort-zone, you’ll be providing a useful service to others too.
Attend a professional public speaking course.
One of the best ways to develop your communication skills, and your confidence, is to get some professional training.
It can often be daunting to attend a course or coaching program. After all, it forces you to confront your weak spots and face your fears. However, training your communication skills in a structured and “safe” environment is one of the most effective ways to improve.
This can be done in two ways:
Personal coaching – working 1-2-1 with an expert coach to develop your strengths, work on your weaknesses, and push your communication skills to the next level.
Group courses – learning alongside others to practise your communication skills and push your comfort-zone.
Which option you choose will depend on your personal circumstance and objectives. For a deeper dive into the different benefits of public speaking courses and coaching, check out this article.
If you’d like to read more about the communication training we offer here at Project Charisma (which includes improv, speaking on camera, acting, professional speaking, and more!) see our training options here.
Communication skills can be developed everywhere.
When it comes to learning how to communicate, there’s a whole world of opportunities out there which can help you.
From utilizing the latest tech, to trying your hand at a traditional monologue, or jumping into improv – all of these ideas offer experiences that are both fun and informative.
So I challenge you to try one of my 5 alternative ways to speaking success.
Choose one which makes you feel both excited and scared. When you’ve done it, try another.
Keep expanding your comfort-zone, keep learning and keep trying new things.
Not only will you become a better speaker, but you’ll have much more to talk about.
Discover Your Charisma Score!
- Confident Mindset
- Compelling Content
- Engaging Delivery