The voice inside your head or your internal self-talk has a direct impact on how you communicate to and with others.
Your self-talk can be your very best friend and empower you, or it can be your own worst enemy. Many people experience an internal voice that is loud and persistent “Should haves, could haves, why did you, why are you, can’t believe you did that, said that, felt that,” and so on.
Our voice often creates a story around things, situations, experiences and what we perceive other people are thinking about us. It starts with a thought, then it can become an internal conversation, then it grows into a story, and then, of course, feelings and emotions are aroused, from which we then behave in certain ways.
In fact, your very identity could be thought of as the result of years of stories you’ve told yourself about yourself and the world around you, and your interpretation of the stories others have told you as well.
Self-talk, the constant internal narrative about our experiences, determines our ongoing perception of ourselves, including our self-confidence. If we lack self-confidence, d we may struggle to find the right words, speak too softly, or come across as uncomfortable or defensive. Other people may pull away from us as a result, which may continue to affect our self-image.
There is interdependence between your outlook and the outlook of those with whom you engage. The continual exchange of information between you and other people begins with the communication that takes place within one person—yourself.
We all have opinions and unconscious biases about gender, race, class, title, past, values, interpersonal skills and abilities. Our internal monologue that feeds and encourages these opinions can result in us coming across to others as a big-headed, know-it-all or, to the other extreme, a shy and uninteresting person or anywhere in between.
At one extreme, we might self-talk ourselves into thinking and believing we are superior to others: “I am the best member of this project team; everyone likes me, and they need me; nobody else knows as much as I know.”
At the other extreme, we might convince ourselves that we are simply not good enough and are lacking in some or many ways: “I make mistakes all the time; people don’t like me; I can’t ever say anything right.”
Thoughts come and go, but it is vital to remember that positive self-talk is key to being an effective and influential communicator. Imagine how a few years of positive or negative thoughts will influence your self-confidence and your sense of mental and emotional well-being. The ripple effect is literally the outcomes you experience in life, both personally and professionally, and how you positively or negatively influence others.