I wasn’t sure I needed it.
I thought my English accent was good enough and that my ability to convey ideas and externalize my thoughts didn’t really need much work.
So it started as a way to explore my curiosity.
But working with a communication coach has been one of the best investments of the past year.
It all goes back to information vs exformation as I wrote a while ago.
When you understand how your brain works and how it interfaces with others, you realize how important being able to communicate effectively and with impact, really is.
Before saying anything we compute all the stuff we have in our heads, and then trim it down to the core essentials. That’s a lot of information that gets discarded.
Then it’s up to us to convey those essentials in a way that the other person can use to build their “tree of talking“.
So what did I actually learn working with this coach?
Space is active and matters – a lot.
Pausing and “chunking” your thoughts effectively doesn’t come to us naturally. It’s something we have to work at. Problem is we know what we want to say (most times) and we just want to dump it on the other person.
That never works well, unless you’re in a rush or someone is about to die.
Instead, actively forcing yourself to pause in between your core sentences and ideas helps get the message across in a clear and often more authoritative way.
It’s like white space in design, or using short, choppy sentences and blurbs in your copy. Simple but not easy to do.
Don’t overlook emphasis.
I love how simple communication structure actually is. Working with a coach helped cement in my head how the way we transfer concepts into other peoples’ minds, is just the byproduct of using 3 components well:
- Information words (words that carry meaning)
- Structure words (words that connect information words)
- Focus words (words for the core ideas we want to convey)
It’s interesting how Legend copywriter Eugene Schwartz used almost the same system for analyzing the copy he wrote.
In his book “Brilliance Breakthrough” he called them picture words and connecting words.
When you think of it this way, it gets much easier to know what to focus on, especially in the editing phase (and self-editing while speaking).
Not all words are created equal.
Language is in your body.
I should have expected this, I’m Italian.
But it’s something that as a big introvert I always tried to sweep under the rug. Speaking confidently, assertively and with authority is as much about embodiment as it is about vocal ability.
And at first it is uncomfortable!
But once you get past this initial hurdle, you realize that pushing to the intersection of comfort and embarrassment, is what makes you an effective speaker and communicator.
The same applies to your copy. Your brand voice needs to have that extra ooomph, that uniqueness and sometimes, quirkiness about it, if you want to stand out.
Showing it off is not easy, but powerful.
Great communicators practice and work at it as any other craft.
Before each coaching session I kind of dreaded them…
But after, I loved having worked out my communication muscles.
It’s like going to the gym. You might hate it before, but feel amazing once you’re done.
Just like with any other skill, mastering communication requires deliberate practice and it’s something I plan on making a regular part of my routine.
Whether it’s copywriting, design or public speaking, getting good at transferring your ideas into other peoples’ heads should be a high priority in your bucket list.
Yep, not “to do” list. Bucket list.
Make it something you’re excited to work at, because it’s worth it.
If you’re curious about what working with a coach looks like, I highly recommend checking out Jill Diamond (no affiliate connection).
I’ve been working with her for the past 3 months and she’s been an amazing mentor and guide. I love how she’s able to understand exactly what your challenges are, and work through them step by step to get you where you want to go.
Here for example we were practicing deconstructing one of my idols “Ryan Serhant” and his communication style.
Jill is about to open up “The great imitation challenge, Master the style of your favorite native English speaker in 21 days”. You can also find her on Youtube and on her website.
Quote and reflection of the day:
“The future has many names. For the weak, it’s unattainable. For the fearful, it’s unknown. For the bold, it’s ideal.”
- Victor Hugo
You can build your ideal future now with every choice you make and with the mindset you maintain. It takes belief you can achieve it and willingness to embrace uncertainty.