Conquering Negative Self-Talk: the Key to Unblocking Stuck Communication

Negative self-talk is one of the most powerful inhibitors to good communication, and it’s entirely within our control.

You might not think about it much, but we are constantly talking to ourselves. Not in words, per se, but in the narratives we each create in our minds about everyday situations. Those narratives have the power to shape and change your life in dramatic ways.

As I talk about in my book Honestly Speaking, conquering this negative self talk is the key to unblocking how you communicate. Simply recognizing when it happens, stepping back, and ob­serving it rather than following its every twist and turn can re­ally help you be clear about what your overall, bigger purpose is and how you should communicate with your audience.

Self-talk is automatic — our minds love to develop negative or defeating narratives. But the good news, is we can over-ride those tendencies and improve how we communicate simply by shifting our own internal narratives. Listening to that talk track and then simply putting it aside can work wonders in all kinds of situ­ations so you see more clearly the factors in front of you and how to communicate with others around you.

If it’s not automatic or easy for you to do (and this is hard for me and just about everyone I know) here are a few ways you can think about taming your own negative self-talk and communicating with more confidence and clarity:

  • Notice your knee-jerk reactions to situations, par­ticularly ones where you are challenged. Are you quick to find a reason to shoot down people’s opin­ions? Are you constantly interrupting people and not letting them finish their train of thought? Instead of listening, are you searching for the next thing to say?

This article is an adapted from Honestly Speaking: How the Way We Communicate Transforms Leadership, Love, and Life, published this month.

Communications and culture leader, author, certified coach, lawyer, yoga teacher.

Communications and culture leader, author, certified coach, lawyer, yoga teacher.