Our greatest competition is ourselves. We create self-talk or noise that distracts us from focusing on having impact and influence. We start convincing ourselves, “What if I forget what to say?” “What if this person doesn’t like me?” “I’m only comfortable when I know my message.” Self-talk will crush your confidence. This boxing match will beat you by convincing yourself, “You’re right. You do convey the wrong message and you’re not an effective communicator.”

Some of us take the noise further and hide behind our technical devises, notes, lectern and PowerPoint decks. We jeopardize our relationships because our communication has moved from personal to technical.

Three steps to beating your competition:

1. Recall a time in your life when you had a big win. Focus on where you were, how you felt and how you succeeded. When you learn to win your competition, you’ll take your communication from good to influential and begin to choose face-to-face conversations over technology.

2. Immediately after a conversation, presentation, meeting or conference call give yourself feedback. What worked? What didn’t work? What do I want to change?

3. When you feel your self-talk taking control, refocus on your message and listeners.

What is my objective? Why does my topic matter to my listener? What does my listener need to know to take the action I want them to take?


Making changes to the way you communicate can also help you gain confidence and beat the competition. Changing your communication behavior includes four steps: awareness, understanding, acceptance and taking action.

Awareness: A prerequisite for making a change is that you’re aware of your communication strengths, weaknesses and impact on others. To truly be aware you need to ask others to give you constructive feedback. What you become aware of might be unexpected and surprising.

Understanding: This is the stage where you say, “A-ha! I understand what needs to be done to make the change I want to make.” You’ve reached a stage where you stop denying this change is needed and are willing to accept it. When the pain is great enough or if you haven’t seen results in a while, MAKE A CHANGE!

Acceptance: During this stage, you accept this can be the new and improved way you communicate. You’re more open-minded, more interested in making the change and focused to move forward.

Taking Action: This is where most people come to a HALT. What distinguishes a great communicator from an average communicator is this: Great communicators do what average communicators do not want to do. Take action today. Not tomorrow, not next week, but today to begin making changes so that one year from today you’re not stuck in the same spot.

When was the last time you made a change in HOW you communicate? Take action today!


Stacey Hanke is a communication guru, author and speaker. Stacey teaches her clients how to develop verbal skills to influence and persuade others. Stacey helps individuals eliminate the static that plagues communicative delivery-to persuade, sell, influence or simply effectively communicate face-to-face with a clear message. Learn more about Stacey and set up a free consult at: http://www.1stImpressionConsulting.com
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