Our Olympians blow me away. Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles. Forget about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice. These exquisite athletes must practice millions of hours to achieve their fitness level and athletic mastery.
In the spirit of the Olympic Games, here is a bit of fitness advice. How about adding a daily workout that can get you to new heights, beyond even the trampoline (yes, Trampoline is an Olympic sport). I’m talking about training our most powerful muscle. A muscle with the potential to energize, dramatize and crystalize. A muscle with the unique power to inspire greatness and triumph over adversity!
You got it! I am talking about the tongue – that sensory, muscular organ we use for (among other things) articulating speech. Yes, I am being a little tongue-in-cheek. But, like any muscle, we need to train our tongues so our words can eloquently roll off.
We all practice so many things: soccer, swimming, piano, saxophone, ballet and Bossa Nova (when in Brazil!). We even practice, and should practice, learning new languages. Claro que sim?! But, how about practicing how we communicate? How about practicing having a confident, articulate conversation? Communication is, after all, the single most pivotal skill that gets us what we need out of life!
On Thursday, the Washington Posts’ Facebook page included a story about Michael Phelps that inspired a slew of comments about his use, or misuse, of the word “literally.” In response to his competition, Ryan Lochte, Phelps said, “We’ve literally duked it out back and forth.” As wowed as fans are of his unmatched athleticism, they still felt compelled to comment on his use of “literally” as an intensifier, and not, per the dictionary definition, to describe what actually happened.
No one is born a great communicator. Every person you know who is a great communicator has put in the practice.
So, today, I would like to put forward the idea of speech fitness (#speechfitness). And, I would like to offer up our new app, LikeSo, as your personal speech coach!
We designed LikeSo to help you practice for all speaking opportunities: presentations, networking events, interviews, dates, debates – even your next conversation. LikeSo trains you to speak on the fly and practice responding to impromptu questions, bringing awareness to both the content of your answers and your use (or overuse) of filler words.
When the session is complete, LikeSo provides a real-time analysis of your speech fitness, verbal encouragement (“You Have a Silver Tongue!”) and calculates an “Articulate” percentage based on the number of filler words spoken (“like,” “so,” “totally,” “I mean,” “ya know,” literally, etc.) divided by the total words spoken. And, LikeSo measures pacing for the fast and slow talker, with optimal pacing considered to be approximately 150 wpm.
We all can’t be Olympic athletes, but we all can achieve speech fitness and skillfully articulate our own stories!