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Copyright © Al Prodgers Comedy
ENQUIRIES / BOOKINGS:  0114629322 / 0745806040 / info@alprodgers.co.za
CONTACT US ENQUIRIES / BOOKINGS: 011 462 9322 074 580 6040 info@alprodgers.co.za www.alprodgers.co.za
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20 March 2018 What if I say the wrong thing? I’m writing this post for Human Rights Day in South Africa, although whenever I deliver my keynote, people express anxiety about saying something “wrong”. Perhaps it’s a product of our history, upbringing or schooling. Whatever the cause, we feel anxious about speaking, like we somehow have to earn the  privilege. And yet it’s our right. You have the right to speak. Not convinced? Look at Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Speech is also a precious gift because… To speak is literally to create. If you know what you want to create, if you can visualise why you need to speak...now… here… to this group of people… then what you want to say will naturally form itself into words. Just speak the words that need to be said for your group to achieve their common goal, whatever it is. That’s the route to trust and collaboration. By speaking, you can make a difference. Speaking is power. It may not give you total control, but it gives you agency, the ability to act and influence your environment. Simply put, it allows you to create and tell your own story. And if you don’t, if you give up that right, someone else will tell your story. Do you really want that? Once you decide to speak, here are a few ideas I have used that have worked for me: 1. Start Small. An effective way to deal with anxiety is to deliberately expose yourself to tiny, manageable doses of the thing you fear. (Please note, this doesn’t work with heroin!) Start by expressing your honest opinion amongst trusted friends. Just do it once and note how it feels. Do that over time, until you feel comfortable, then gradually raise the stakes. Try saying a few words to strangers you’ll probably never see again, like commenting on an item in a shop. Do that until you can do it with ease. Then make a contribution at work, at first only when the discussion is really in your zone of expertise, before you gradually move on to more difficult conversations. You want to build a reputation, foremost with yourself and eventually with others, for being a reliable, accurate source of information. Every time you speak, your confidence will grow. 2. You are more than just your information. We all make mistakes. We all get it wrong sometimes. The trick to bouncing back from a failure of your information is to remember that it doesn’t make you a failure as a person. It happens to everybody. Yes, it hurts, but if you can keep the perspective that you have so much more to offer, then you don’t mind so much that it hurts. That’s resilience. It allows you to keep control of your forward momentum. 3. Listen. Importantly, remember that your right to speak is balanced by your responsibility to listen. If you are speaking and listening to another person in order to build something with them that is better than what existed before you started, then you are having a Constructive Conversation. Sound easy? It is. Still nervous? That’s natural. Overcoming anxiety. By speaking out we risk being rejected by the people we care  about. This fear of being ostracised runs deep. Imagine a group of prehistoric hunter-gatherers telling stories around a campfire. One wrong grunt can make the tribe turn against you, cause conflict, banishment, loneliness, even death. If you’re having trouble picturing this, just think back to any annual get-together of the modern extended family. So when people ask, “What if I say the wrong thing?” they are often asking, “How can I speak and also avoid the consequences of speaking?” You can’t… But by using the tips above, you can make those results much more positive than negative. Above all, you will be true to your authentic self. As always, feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like me to address. Al
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Copyright © Al Prodgers Comedy
CONTACT ENQUIRIES / BOOKINGS: e: info@alprodgers.co.za t: +27114629322 / +27745806040
FOLLOW US Visit our social profiles for regular tweets and posts
  
Professional Speaker Association of SA
Professional Member of
FOLLOW US
20 March 2018 What if I say the wrong thing? I’m writing this post for Human Rights Day in South Africa, although whenever I deliver my keynote, people express anxiety about saying something “wrong”. Perhaps it’s a product of our history, upbringing or schooling. Whatever the cause, we feel anxious about speaking, like we somehow have to earn the  privilege. And yet it’s our right. You have the right to speak. Not convinced? Look at Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Speech is also a precious gift because… To speak is literally to create. If you know what you want to create, if you can visualise why you need to speak...now… here… to this group of people… then what you want to say will naturally form itself into words. Just speak the words that need to be said for your group to achieve their common goal, whatever it is. That’s the route to trust and collaboration. By speaking, you can make a difference. Speaking is power. It may not give you total control, but it gives you agency, the ability to act and influence your environment. Simply put, it allows you to create and tell your own story. And if you don’t, if you give up that right, someone else will tell your story. Do you really want that? Once you decide to speak, here are a few ideas I have used that have worked for me: 1. Start Small. An effective way to deal with anxiety is to deliberately expose yourself to tiny, manageable doses of the thing you fear. (Please note, this doesn’t work with heroin!) Start by expressing your honest opinion amongst trusted friends. Just do it once and note how it feels. Do that over time, until you feel comfortable, then gradually raise the stakes. Try saying a few words to strangers you’ll probably never see again, like commenting on an item in a shop. Do that until you can do it with ease. Then make a contribution at work, at first only when the discussion is really in your zone of expertise, before you gradually move on to more difficult conversations. You want to build a reputation, foremost with yourself and eventually with others, for being a reliable, accurate source of information. Every time you speak, your confidence will grow. 2. You are more than just your information. We all make mistakes. We all get it wrong sometimes. The trick to bouncing back from a failure of your information is to remember that it doesn’t make you a failure as a person. It happens to everybody. Yes, it hurts, but if you can keep the perspective that you have so much more to offer, then you don’t mind so much that it hurts. That’s resilience. It allows you to keep control of your forward momentum. 3. Listen. Importantly, remember that your right to speak is balanced by your responsibility to listen. If you are speaking and listening to another person in order to build something with them that is better than what existed before you started, then you are having a Constructive Conversation. Sound easy? It is. Still nervous? That’s natural. Overcoming anxiety. By speaking out we risk being rejected by the people we care  about. This fear of being ostracised runs deep. Imagine a group of prehistoric hunter-gatherers telling stories around a campfire. One wrong grunt can make the tribe turn against you, cause conflict, banishment, loneliness, even death. If you’re having trouble picturing this, just think back to any annual get-together of the modern extended family. So when people ask, “What if I say the wrong thing?” they are often asking, “How can I speak and also avoid the consequences of speaking?” You can’t… But by using the tips above, you can make those results much more positive than negative. Above all, you will be true to your authentic self. As always, feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions you’d like me to address. Al

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"Constructive Conversations":

A bi-weekly emailer with practical tips & techniques to Build Better Business!