Imagine these scenarios:
- You are presenting a plan for a new project at a board meeting, 10 senior board members are watching you. You stand up, deliver your presentation with ease and confidence, answer their probing questions smoothly and win approval for your project.
- You are attending a networking event. You walk into the room feeling confident and at ease, you start up conversations with people you don’t know, find yourself enjoying interesting discussions and make plans to meet at least 3 new people outside of the event. You leave feeling that the event was well worth attending.
If you struggle thinking how these scenarios (or other challenging communication scenarios) can be the norm for you, then Visualization may be key to your success.
Visualisation is the first step to practicing
Adopting any new behavior requires that we are first aware of the new behavior that we want, and then practicing the new behaviour over and over again. The practice literally builds new neural connections in the brain. The more we do something, the stronger the connections become until eventually the new behaviour becomes our default response or norm.
Practicing a new communications technique such as speaking up at a meeting, confidently answering questions or starting new conversations is crucial in creating a new default behavior. As the old saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’. Yet the ‘practice’ part can be challenging. We have to be presented with the opportunity and then remember to use the ‘new’ behaviour than the old, and do this over and over again. This takes time and focus.
The good news is that research has shown that visualizing a new behaviour activates the same brain cells involved in doing that activity.
The good news is that research has shown that visualizing a new behaviour activates the same brain cells involved in doing that activity. So, rather than having to wait for the perfect opportunity to try out your new technique, you can visualize it in your mind. Imagine it in vivid detail going through each step, imagine what happens, how you feel and the results of you did. Take yourself through this regularly. This will help build the new connections you need in your brain in order to access that behaviour on the spot so that when the boss throws you a tough question at the meeting, your brain is ready to go with that smooth easy response.