Manage Self-Talk and Improve Your Life

Self-talk is an integral constant in your life. You start talking to yourself when you wake up in the morning and don’t stop until you fall asleep at night. Who would’ve thought you had so much to say? Right? But you do!

When self-talk is positive and helpful, amazing things can happen. When self-talk is negative, life can be much more challenging than it has to be.

Like much of who you are, your style of self-talk is a habit that has been molded by your experiences and environment. Imagine how your life could change for the better if you were able to alter your self-talk into something more supporting and encouraging.

You can start living that life today! Just follow these simple steps to get started:

1. Make a list of your negative self-talk phrases and attitudes. For 24 hours, record everything you say to yourself that isn’t supportive, regardless of whether or not you think it’s true. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

• “He would never want to talk to me.”
• “I’m not good enough for that.”
• “I could never do that.”
• “Things will never get better.”

2. Prioritize your list. Which items have the greatest negative impact on your life and your sense of happiness? Put the list in order, from greatest negative impact to least.

• Prioritizing is important because it will naturally force you to spend your time on the most important items.

3. Create a new list. Now that you’ve made your list, you’re going to improve it. Convert at least the first 10 items on your list into positive thoughts. If you’re feeling motivated, you can rewrite as many more as you like.

Even if you don’t believe the new, positive idea, just change it into a positive version. For example, “I could never do that” changes to, “I can do anything I set my mind to.”

4. Change your thinking. Now, for the challenging part. Each time you catch yourself engaging in self-talk matching an item from your list, substitute the new self-talk expression.

• Be diligent at all times. Considering how many times you may have said the negative item to yourself, this new practice will require a lot of attention. The good news is that over time, the positive things you say to yourself will become a habit, too!

5. Move further down the list. After you’ve conquered the 10 most negative items, look at the list and consider how it would improve your life to change those remaining negative self-talk items. You may have formed such positive habits with your first 10 items that the rest of them might not really be applicable anymore!

Self-talk will always be there, so it will benefit you to exercise some control over it. Anything you hear over and over again, you start to believe. That’s the way our minds work.

The first step to gaining that control is to monitor your thoughts and feelings. Then the necessary steps can be taken to change it for the better. As with all habits, these self-talk patterns can be challenging to change, but doing so will really boost your happiness. Get started today!

How to Polish Your Small-Talk Skills

If you want to make new friends and advance in your career, learn to connect with others through small talk.

Here are 3 simple steps for striking up conversation and making the most of networking events:

Preparation Before A Networking Event

1. Have a few topics of conversation prepared. Stay current with community and world events. Read the latest industry publications. Offer sincere compliments if you like someone’s hat or if you know that they recently won an award.

2. Rehearse answers to common questions. Practice your responses to questions that you hear all the time. Put an interesting or amusing spin on your description of where you work or your hometown.

3. Check your body language. Above all, try to relax. Appearing confident and friendly will help you have a good time and meet more people. You’ll also help those around you to feel more at ease.

Basic Communication Principles

1. Greet people. Let your greetings make a good first impression. Take the initiative to say hello and offer your name. Smile and shake hands. Repeat the other person’s name so you’ll be more likely to remember it.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Keep the dialogue flowing with open-ended questions. Ask people about their impressions and experiences.

3. Practice active listening. Give people your full attention and show your enthusiasm. Turn off your cell phone or at least put it on vibrate if you have to take urgent calls.

4. Enter group conversations. If everyone’s already engaged, you can still find opportunities to be included. When you see two people talking, check first to avoid interrupting something personal. With larger groups, discreetly wait until there’s an opening to make an appropriate comment.

5. Keep it brief. Leave people wanting more. Learn to excuse yourself tactfully by mentioning that you need to speak with someone or get something to eat. Let people know that you appreciated meeting them or hope to see them again soon.

Special Tips for Networking Events

1. Take advantage of easy icebreakers. Networking events are designed for meeting people, so seize the opportunity. It’s natural to talk about why you came and the benefits you’re hoping to achieve. Just take an equal interest in helping others with their goals.

2. Ask for information if you’re a newcomer. If it’s your first time, ask others for their guidance. Many people will be flattered to share their knowledge. Tell the workers at the registration desk that you’re new, and they may point out people on their welcoming committee or individuals in your line of business.

3. Offer assistance if you’re a veteran. If you’re already familiar with the organization, help newcomers feel at home. You may make valuable connections and you’ll create a positive environment for everybody.

4. Exchange introductions. Broaden your network by identifying people you want to meet and mutual colleagues who can help introduce you. Be ready to reciprocate when others ask for introductions. Check the registration sheet for the names and affiliations of interesting people or use business-oriented social networks like LinkedIn to get more ideas.

5. Share business cards. When you’ve had a promising conversation, use your business cards to help make a lasting connection. Offer your card and reiterate any specific reason for staying in touch. When someone gives you their card, use the back to jot down any details you need to remember.

Get comfortable with schmoozing. Improving your small talk skills will help you build your self-confidence and broaden your social and business networks.