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The best way to PERMANENTLY improve your communications

Tags: Leadership | Do more

19th August

If you want to permanently improve how you communicate, you have to identify:

What you want to improve; and
How you’ll make it permanent

Sounds obvious, yes?

But I’ve seen plenty of people think of the former (“I want to be better at delegating”); but not the latter (“I know I want to improve my delegating. But, I’m busy so don’t have time to think about it now”)

So, instead of thinking “what do I want to improve now?”, then changing for a couple of days and then reverting back, use my Halve-It Approach:

  • Identify what you want your communication skills to be like at future date X (Let’s assume you want to become a brilliant presenter, and X is 16 weeks from now)
  • Halve-It: ask ‘what must I be able to do 8 weeks from now (it’s 8, because 8 is half of 16), to ensure I’ll be where I want to be 16 weeks from now? (In this example, it might be that you will have delivered a few presentations to large audiences and have had good feedback, but have clear areas to improve
  • Halve-It: ask ‘what must I be able to do 4 weeks from now, so I hit my target of where I need to be 8 weeks from now?’
  • Keep halving it: ‘And what must I be able to do two weeks from now? One week? Half a week?....’
  • ‘…so what must I do today/tomorrow to get going? Because, if I don’t, I already know I won’t hit my 16 week goal’

This approach is more likely to lead to permanent improvement. Of course, you’ll need to give yourself lots of help, to increase the chances of it working:

  • Follow the steps
  • Put all the relevant things in your calendar, so you give it the right time and priority
  • In addition to your calendar, think what/who else will help you on the journey – your colleagues, boss, peers, available resources, and so on

One thing I’m known for is that all my presentations are very interactive. My audiences always interact with me and/or each other and/or exercises I ask them to do.

But they weren’t once. In fact, nobody asks me why my presentations are so interactive now. But if I hadn’t used the Halve-It Approach a few years ago, they wouldn’t be.

So, what permanent change would you like to make?

And how will you ensure you do?

Action point

This week’s actions go back to the top two points of this week’s Tip - identify:

  • What you want to improve; and
  • How you’ll make it permanent (for example, by using Halve-It)

Without the first, you won’t improve. Without the second, it won’t be permanent.