Talking to Yourself can Help You be Prepared

Posted by martin.parnell |

We probably all know someone who has the habit of muttering to themselves and might put it down to being one of their “little idiosyncrasies”, but according to a Harvard Management “Tip of the Day” for October 12th, they might just be ahead of the game. 

In the article entitled “To Learn Something, Explain It to Yourself Out Loud”, adapted from “Talking to Yourself (Out Loud) Can Help You Learn,” by Ulrich Boser, it suggests that  muttering under your breath can be a helpful way to learn a new concept or skill:

When you’re studying something new, either reading about it or listening to others explain, it, take the time to pause and summarize out loud what you’re learning. This serves two purposes: First, it slows you down — and when you’re more deliberate, you gain more from the learning experience. Second, it cements the new knowledge by forcing you to consider questions like “What do I find confusing? Do I really know this well enough to explain it?” Whether you hit the pause button while listening to a podcast, or stop to reflect while reading a manual, tell yourself what you’re learning — maybe just don’t do it in public. 

I know there have been times when I’ve been reading instructions and have found myself reading instructions out loud, especially when there are several steps. 

In a piece entitled “Self-made millionaire: 3 ways that talking to yourself can help you succeed”, on the CNBC website, Grant Cardone suggests: “In order to be successful, you may want to try talking to yourself. It sounds strange, but I've found that positive self-talk can help a person's attitude immensely. That, in turn, leads to better relationships with others, higher self-esteem and more productive days. Here are three ways to have a more positive attitude in order to succeed in life. Talk to yourself and think positive thoughts. What you say when you talk to yourself creates your attitude. 

People wonder why their life isn't exciting: It's their think and their talk. Your entire life is created by your thoughts—and then by your language. The thoughts that you have are created in part by the language you use. If you think it, you'll say it and then you'll do it. This is why so many people try and change behavior, but it doesn't last. If you don't change your thought process, you won't change your verbal process, and you won't change your actions.” 

Cardone goes on to suggest we also change our vocabulary: “Start using the language that highly-successful people employ every day. Do you think highly successful people with great attitudes, when asked how their weekend was, reply, "It was okay" or "It was same old same old"? No, the people that answer that way are mundane. "Alright, it's okay, so-so, nothing special.” Successful people don't talk like that. Some examples of words to include in your new vocabulary: "Great," "super," "wonderful," "incredible," "excellent."

When I’m preparing new talk, I always say it out loud and sometimes record it, to see if it makes sense and sounds right. I also do this when I’m preparing questions, for my workshops.

It helps to know that the vocabulary and tone sound right and everything is properly explained. Sometimes you can’t quite get that from just reading what you’ve written, when it’s for someone else.

So, next time you see someone muttering to themselves, just remember they may just be learning something worthwhile, or formulating the next great innovation!

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