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May 2010: "Speaking from Power and Authenticity" by Patricia Hirsch

Do you ever stop to listen to yourself speak, or to put it another way, 'observe' the words that regularly come out of your mouth? It might be an eye opener to 'notice' that how you are speaking is as common and automatic to you as you've noticed with other people's way of speaking. Yes, you too could be speaking from an automatic way of being without offering much in what you have to say.

An easy way to see if you are making a difference in what you say is to observe the people you are speaking to; are they listening? I mean REALLY listening as if what YOU have to say is EXACTLY what they want to be hearing right then, right now. Or, are they feigning interest? You know what I mean, don't you? In fact, you probably remember doing something like this yourself. A dead giveaway are the words that show up with the listener: "hmmm, that's interesting." Ya, like right. <- joke.

My first look at my speaking was when my father would say to me, "you just like to listen to yourself talk, don't you?" I began to think about that; well, frankly I did! I thought I was brilliant and wanted to share my brilliance with every audience I could! Unfortunately, people weren't all that interested in what I had to say and pretty soon, people were avoiding me. I talked way too much about not a whole lot of substance. That was a tough but valuable lesson for me. That's when I began a practice of talking, stopping, listening fully, and then responding to what was said with my own original, rather than automatic, thoughts.

Another look was when I found myself speaking about my own day-to-day experiences in the third person; depersonalizing my experiences and assuming that all others had the same views of life that I did. For example, I might have said something like, "when you walk into a room and people look at you, you get nervous. You know?" <-- No. How could anyone else know my experience of being nervous whenever I would walk into a room and people would look at me? My experiences are based in what “I” have gone through in my own life and what “I” have “automatically” put together as my way of being. This was a red alert for me that whenever I spoke from “you” in the third person, I was actually speaking about me and to do so, I was then able to notice what experiences I was having. In other words, I was able to look at my automatic way of being of walking into a room and when people looked at me, got nervous. Because I began to personalize what I was speaking, I was then able to examine my “nervousness”, see it for what it was, and I am now able to walk into any room hungry for relationships with fabulous people!

When we stop to notice, when we stop to observe by listening to our own speaking, we are allowing ourselves to speak from a life of power and authenticity.


Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching