Resolution. noun. A firm decision to do or not to do something.

Exactly. A firm decision to do or not to do something is exactly what’s required when we undertake any form of self-improvement – training, coaching, even meditation or a new workout regimen. Self-improvement is simply change, and all it requires is a firm decision to do something differently.

If you’re the New Year’s Resolution type, you’ve probably made yours already. But I’d like to suggest that resolutions – or decisions to make a change – can be undertaken at any time, not just at the start of a new calendar year. While I’m a big proponent of all forms of self-improvement – personal and professional – I’m obviously mostly concerned (okay, a little obsessed) with those that can improve your communication skills.

To that end, here are 3 examples of situations that could serve as prompts to help you recognize and make resolutions to be a better communicator/presenter/speaker at any time of the year:

1. You’re in the audience listening to a speaker who just crushed their opening or closing by doing something totally outside the box. Make a note to self, jot it down (this is where taking out your cell phone during an event is warranted!). Surely, you can adapt and adopt this technique once you decide that you, too, want to be a more impactful speaker.

2. A colleague shares specific feedback she got from the CEO following a meeting. She was applauded for how she choreographed the use of visuals with discussion points to engage everyone in the room. It’s something you’ve never done before but you know is doable with some forethought and planning. Note to self: practice and then try it going forward!

3. In a presentation to a client company, you address their challenges the way you always do. You also get the same questions you always get. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself what you can do differently to preempt these questions. What is it about your approach that is leaving the same gap in understanding each time? Make the decision to do it differently the next time and design a new approach.

It’s okay to take your inspiration for change from the examples or hints from others, we do it all the time. Think about it this way; we’ve been modeling our own behavior on the behaviors and reactions of others much longer than we’ve been making New Year’s Resolutions!

Beth Levine