The Habitual Speaker

I’ve been wanting to create some good habits and ditch the bad ones as I looked back on the past year and realized how many of the bad ones I still struggled to detach from for years.

I just finished reading a great book on habits and am now thinking about how to build habits around improving as a speaker and leader. Although the book touches on a variety of examples around athletic training, specially olympians, whose lives are devoted to master very specific skills with the goal of reaching their peak performance. It wasn’t hard to imagine how to apply it on communication and leadership, something that I’ve been pursuing more purposefully for about 2 years now.

The book goes in much more detail about habits that I can ever share here in this tiny post, but the main one that stuck out to me the most is the four laws for building of breaking habits:

If the sound of that interests you, I recommend you check out the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, and dive deeper into it.

When it comes to communication and leadership, specially Toastmasters and the places we might be focusing on implementing it. It can be easy for some people to aim for harder to build habits because they sound really good, though it doesn’t take long to start missing a day or two, as life unfolds and other things get our attention.

If I were to align the laws of good habit creation with Toastmasters, I’d say online meetings are the most obvious way it can get when it comes to honing your public speaking and leadership skills. Attractiveness can be based on the kind of people who are part of the same club that you aspire to be. Where if you join those meetings, you’ll more likely keep learning from those great inspiring and amazing speakers. Then, even if sometimes you don’t have the “perfect” speech prepared, you can still and should make the act of joining just for the sake of speaking on easier situations, even if it’s taking a smaller role that maybe you think it’s not as hard to you anymore, say the Timer or volunteering to answer a quick Table Topics question. As for making it satisfying, try to have as much fun with yourself as you can. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad when you’re in such a supportive and friendly environment as Toastmasters. Maybe you can tell yourself that you’ll go for a nice meal right after the meeting is over, or pull someone to the side and chat more about your goals and their goals, so you can keep learning from each other and building a stronger connection with your buddies and so on 🙂

These are just some quick examples I explored while sitting down to write this post, though I’m sure there are countless ways you can make the habit of joining your next club meeting without dreading it, and yet, even if you do. As the book teaches, we should go for it anyways because when building good habits, it’s important to suck up the “bad” or “boring” days and do it anyways, because the moment you stop doing something, it’s no longer a habit.