January 22, 2018

How do we speak effectively? So that when you speak, people stop + look at you and really listen?

We’ve all seen someone rattle on + talk a lot. After a while it's as if they've exhausted the speech energy that they have, and people don’t really listen to them. Or someone might be rambling on, and we notice our mind starts to wander + suddenly we realize we’re not really listening. And then there are those other people we meet in our lives who, when they speak, they may not say a lot, but when they do it’s amazing. It’s like every word is imbued with energy and vitality. And we listen.

We have an understanding that our physical bodies have a finite amount of energy. We have a certain amount of energy for each day before we need to rest, sleep, eat, recharge, refuel our tanks. The same is true for speech energy. What most people don’t know, is that we have a finite amount of energy reserved for our speech. In order to have that type of energy, vitality and strength behind your speech, I've compiled these six simple + insightful ways to make your speech more powerful: 

1. Be silent more often.

When we’re silent, we reserve and preserve those precious speech energies. So when we do talk, it’s more powerful. Having an awareness of how much we speak during the day can be really helpful. Track during one day: how much during the day are you silent and how much are you speaking? Have an awareness of when you’re speaking and when you’re quiet.

2. Notice the content of your speech and how it affects other people.

When you do talk, what are you saying? What are you expressing? Do you tend to be responding? Are you talking about yourself? Is it a dialogue? A monologue? Do you only speak when it’s necessary? When it’s something beneficial? Do you find yourself sharing experiences? Just noticing what the content of your speech is. Is it positive? Is it negative? Does it make people smile? What is the effect of the content of your speech?

There’s this great quote from an old TV series called Kung Fu that stuck with me ~ I loved it so much that I wrote it into my meditation practice every morning so that I could repeat it to myself every morning. And the quote is: If my words are not better than silence, I will keep silent. I just love that idea of making sure that when we do speak, it has some benefit. Even just having a sharper awareness of what it is that we’re saying when we do speak.

Katie Hess LOTUSWEI flower essences

3. Choose your words carefully.

By choosing your words carefully, you use less energy, you’ll reserve more of your speech energies. We have those times where we ramble on in an effort to describe something, and that feels really different from slowing down and choosing each word carefully. It uses less energy when we choose our words carefully, and it also means that we are fully present as we’re speaking. This in turn makes it easier for the listener to be fully present with us as we’re speaking, making our speech more powerful.

4.Listen more.

This practice will help reserve those speech energies. By asking more questions. By observing more. By being curious about the person that we’re talking to. And in that listening more, we’re engaging in more silence. We’re being quiet.

5. Become comfortable with silence.

Even when you’re with other people. The trick is this: if silence arises, let it be there. Resist the urge to fill the silence with chattering + talking + sharing. Move past that point of it being awkward into being able to rest into it, relax into that silence and notice how good it feels to be able to be at ease with silence and to be fully present with each other without the need for words.

I had this experience earlier in the year when I was in Taipei and having dinner with a few friends. We were in a completely full restaurant and I looked around me, every table was full. And I realized that no one was talking. It’s so different in the West - you go to dinner and everyone’s chatting, everyone’s having a conversation as they’re eating. In Asia it’s more common that when you’re eating, you’re just fully immersed in eating! Completely absorbed in the amazing flavors + tastes and you’re nourishing yourself. And you’re also spending time with others, but comfortable in that space; it’s like a spacious silence where you’re fully present with your food and you’re fully present with who you’re sitting with, you just happen to not be talking.

6. Take one day and engage in silence.

One whole day without speaking. You can do it every week, you can do once a month, once a year. It’s sort of like a fast where you are really reserving those speech energies so when you do speak, there’s a lot of vitality and strength and power behind your words.

Let me know how it goes! If you try any of these methods, if you have any insights arise, we’d love to hear about it!

Love + flower petals,