Monday, February 1, 2010

Mindful Speaking Using Insight Dialogue (ID)

Like many people, every time I speak before a group I get extremely nervous. Public speaking can be one of the most stressful activities imaginable. However, when I address an audience I practice a form of meditation. It is about cultivating tranquillity: developing a greater sense of presence when I talk transforms my speech. What better way to improve my speaking skills than to explore how to better relax and concentrate on how to best engage my audience? Careful listening to good speakers also provides me with invaluable insights as to how to improve all facets of my communication skills.

Focusing on being more wakeful as I talk is a process called Insight Dialogue . It teaches me to explore how to better show-up when I talk and to become more mindful as I do so. Mindful speech comes from becoming more conscious of the entire process when we talk with other people.

We can all develop more wholesome techniques that can improve our entire communications experience. For example, I gain better clarity when I pause and relax in the process of talking. Developing such calmness is balanced by a profound sense of attentiveness to what is being said or heard.

Insight Dialogue consists of exploring six basic steps: Pausing, Relaxing, Opening, Trusting Emergence, Listening Deeply, and Speaking Our Truth. I first pause and awaken before I speak. It is critical to take one’s time before we vocalize. I then allow myself to relax. This is essential in order to focus fully on the task at hand. Opening allows one to settle and find clarity as to what is presently happening.

When one trusts emergence, one is freer to perceive new possibilities. In order to increase one’s awareness, one must listen deeply to what is going on. And finally, this process allows me to speak my truth as one makes a profound heart/mind connection. In my opinion, eloquence comes from the embodiment of both compassion and insight when communicating.

Becoming more mindful as to how we use words, the manner in which we say them, experiencing the full process of Insight Dialogue enables us to excel at public speaking. It makes possible greater connection with others as improved speaking skills create more intimate encounters. By focusing our attention to specific areas of consciousness, such as our body or our feelings, we gain more clarity as to how we are relating to and connecting with the audience.

Being more in the present anchors me and is enhanced by paying regular attention to my body and feelings to increase my mindfulness in each moment. Another anchor is to be aware of my breathing whatever the present communication experience is.

When I relax I fully connect with my audience. Beginning with a pause, and relaxing sets my mind at ease and enables me to see things as they actually are in the “now”. Tension acts to distort and block my presentation. As I practice my speech with a sense of grace I become more alert. The calmer I become, the better I speak.

Insight Dialogue also involves inquiry into the nature of better communication. Choice of language is another form of meditation to practice the force of intellect and the associative power of words. Insight Dialogue works directly with language and is about transformation in speaking with a sense of the sacred.

Anytime I speak before a group I make it into an opportunity to meditate. I work on pausing, relaxing and opening to the possibility of deeply connecting to my audience. As I better listen to both my body and my feelings, I am better able to embody in words my own truth and attain a greater sense of wholeness.