Are you revising your impactful vocabulary to use, or wishing you could use it?
You’re thinking about the big day, you’re going to speak, your success depends on it... You know that your English is good enough. You know the right words, you’ve heard them used before. You can remember them when you sit quietly and revise them.
You’re going to have to use them, the stakes are high, you must succeed, impact and convince...
Question : Are you revising your impactful vocabulary or … wishing??
Are you doing the same as when you studied English in the past?
A revision of knowledge? With the vague intention (a wish) to be able to use the word?
Are you revising with the clear intention of using the impactful vocabulary?
Do you keep the big day in mind?
What’s the big difference between the two?
The first is done passively, your mind doesn’ take note, it’s just remembering some words. Nothing special or worth remembering is happening. It’s just like at school when we revised our tables of verbs… Do did done Grow grew grown
When you started realizing the importance of these conjugations in key situations everything changed. My confidence grew a lot last year. This year I have grown my company by 30%
The second of the two options. When you revise like this your preparation is active and intentional. Your mind is impacted, the importance is clear for your brain. The stakes, and your desire to win, has a real impact on you. The system that enables you to speak is ready.
You have the feeling of really being prepared which gives confidence. Confidence gives us wings!
On the big day, things seem to happen automatically, right? We are “on the ride”
So what is at play, what do we need to remember to help us be confident and prepared?
Remember two important points about our brain :
1. our self-protective system, and 2. our unconscious mind
We have to impact ourselves. There’s so much information and everyday thinking, so we have to tell our brain when it’s important and choose to impact it (the brain) when the information really is important.
New, could be dangerous. Our self-protection system will be careful because new ways of speaking, thinking or acting could bring trouble. If that seems strange, just think about how humans have survived for so many thousands of years. By avoiding danger! That’s when we feel resistance.
Why I mention these two points? Because many clients say “I revised the vocabulary, but it just didn’t come on the day. There was hesitation, then nothing”.
I attribute this to 1. the self-protection system. and 2. We didn't give a clear message to our brain.
When we learned to drive for the first time we didn’t just start to drive. If someone gives us the car keys and we see the road our self protections system would probably stop us from taking action. It does this by making us hesitate, getting confused. It’s protecting us. So many people drove for the first time in parking lots, away from busy roads. We allowed ourselves to make mistakes, it wasn’t comfortable, or easy, it looked funny. This is revising and practicing in the ideal conditions.
If you don’t show your self-protection system that it is safe to use the new vocabulary, by “pushing” despite the resistance in safe conditions, your system probably won’t accept to use it when the stakes are high.
The big idea? : Preparation ASAP before the big day, in calm conditions. When you find yourself thinking about the job and speaking is probably the best time. Instead of “worrying”. By worrying I mean anything that isn’t having a positive impact on your confidence.
How do we impact when something is new?
Let’s take the example of impacting with information…
Why do children like comics so much? It’s because we have to develop the skill of being impacted by text alone, with images it’s easier. It’s also enjoyable for adults as well!
So I could tell you that it was Archimedes that discovered that the volume of irregular objects could be measured using water displacement… boring, right? I prefer the story where he was thinking about this problem and took a bath and upon getting into his bath he saw the water move upward and cried Eureka!! Running through the streets naked because he was so excited. This outdated story is probably still told because the image creates emotion.
Images create emotion => emotion creates IMPACT => we remember things that impact us.
Yes we can and we do all the time. Stories make things real for us. So when I use the term visualization I’m not necessarily talking about a HD film in color. In whatever way YOU may think about real situations (flashes of images, comments, sounds, speaking, films and other ideas) are all valid ways of “visualizing”. We are using this term simply to describe a way of experiencing the future.
My question at the start was are we REVISING? or WISHING to use new impactful vocabulary?
What is revision?
You can notice a few things when you look at this definition :
It seems only to apply to the idea of modification or update (revise an old way of thinking)
It talks about a process
It doesn’t seem to apply to the learning process
However, the word “revision” has “re” and “vision”. To SEE again. I think that this definition is great for the process of revising impactful new vocabulary or specific new structures that will help you make your point. Help you to IMPACT.
Why? Because the first time we see a word and start using it our understanding will be limited. The different parts of our brain haven’t yet realized the value of the word or very precisely in what situation it should be used.
So let’s retake this definition and modify :
What is revision :
the process of changing (how we truly understand a word), (and the) amount (for it to be used) or value (of its impact in a real situation) in order to make it(’s acquisition and future use) more accurate.
Now we are more clear on what revision is for you and your professional needs
What do the experts say about visualizing?
Many brain-scientists agree that we have evolved to remember things that happen in space, and places that we can go. That’s why memory methods such as “memory palace” or “The Loci method” work so well. We remember a space we know and imagine funny bits of information so that our brain thinks “this really is important”.
But we don’t need to do this when revising, your brain knows how important your next big meeting or speech is going to be. All we need to do is go to that “place” in our minds and use the tools that we have.
We can visualize but what about vocalizing?
Vocalizing is highly valuable if your results really depend on your impact when speaking. Your brain won’t let you make a very big mistake (the self-protection system). That’s why if you don’t properly revise and integrate new vocabulary you won’t be able to reuse it in a high stake situation. Have you ever noticed the first time an English coach asks you to use a word you are stopped in your tracks? Literally… The risk is too great. There is lots of thinking, non-action.
This is your self-protection system working to make sure you don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation. We have to work with it, as partners!
This is where vocalizing and having the initial experience of non-mastery alone in your office is useful. You can be your own coach, use the words and record your voice (so you start to feel that you have a listener). It will probably be a laborious process, much slower than you would prefer, but just think of the future gains! Sometimes it feels like there’s no point (beware, this is just the resistance to what is new!
However, if we don’t feel that there is enough impact when revising (we know impacting self is important before impacting others) we can combine the 2V’s Visualising and Vocalizing!
You can start right now!
To combine the two imagine a film without the audio where you are using the words that impact your listeners. As I mentioned in another article you can say “I choose to feel impactful”... and you will have even more sensation. This will give you more motivation and a clear signal : I am going to impact using this vocabulary.
Now it’s time to practice the vocabulary in safe conditions. Start to vocalize it speak it put it into sentences using the context of your specialty.
Personally I found the process very useful when mastering the language of personal development and pedagogy in French. I practiced in a safe space and spent a lot of time driving in my car and trying to make my point to an invisible audience. It didn’t take very long for the subject to become easy in reality!
I’ve read some interesting scientific literature on this subject that showed the following :
Visualizing clearly has motivation and memory benefits. Vocalization helps with the processing of the subject being spoken as regards short term and long term memory.
This is a case where Visualizing and vocalizing go hand in hand :
Vocalization is the practice of physical preparation that holds the vocabulary on our short term memory and decreases drastically the “perceived risk” by our protection system.
Visualizing gives immediate motivation but also I long term signal for when the impactful new way of speaking will be used. It also helps intensify the experience.
The “protection system” or our unconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between visualized memories and actual memories is has to rely on emotion to give the amount of importance to be attributed.
First piece of advice : Use the V2 system.
Visualize and vocalize! Your revision will have a greater impact.
If you want to go further and really master the process this is the exercise I use with my clients. It uses a lot of questions to help find the right state of mind.
Start speaking the words and allow for it to be imperfect. Here are some good questions to help :
What do my listeners need that I can give?
What is the simplest way to start?
How many other ways can I use this word?
2. Get an idea of the future situation where you will use the word. Remember you always have to choice of using GOOD questions such as :
“What is my desired outcome?” to make sure your film is a good one
3. You will impact yourself more if you intensify the emotion either by speaking with a confident voice, again using the vocabulary or by asking the magic question :
"What do I want to feel at this point?"
Remember that when you first try these techniques they may feel strange but that’s just your brain’s protective system starting to create confusion because you are doing something new and new could be dangerous...
To conclude, preparation is everything and sometimes we don’t even realize we are preparing. Simple techniques can boost your impact and give you an experience of confidence that you may never have had before.
Remember with some practice all of this become automatic and easy!
So start now
My main message, more important than anything else is you have the resources to be able to reach your international ambitions. My job is simple, put you into contact with yourself and your abilities. I encourage you to start straight away!
And mostly remember to ENJOY speaking English!