February 21


Learn to Be Flexible with Your Messaging

By Celeste DeCamps

February 21, 2022

BeFlexible, belly dancing, communication, confidence, Messaging, mind body connection, Mutual Understanding, self improvement, Self worth, self-esteem

"Learning Anything New Can Make Us Feel Uncomfortable, but Finding a Way to Have Some Laughs Helps Everyone Continue to Grow."

I taught belly dancing to different women groups, and one evening I was asked to teach a class to a group of young mothers. They wanted to do something that would be fun, exciting, and make them feel sexy again. So after we did a warm-up, I began showing them different positions to make their hips move. Immediately, I saw the look of panic, self-doubt, and perceived judgment settle on their faces. I knew a couple of women wanted to find a way to bow out graciously, and the rest were keeping their eyes down. I tried to lighten the mood, but I could tell they were feeling uncomfortable. Finally, I realized I needed to change my tactics in explaining a hip snap. I told the group to imagine holding their toddler on one hip and that their other arm was holding a bag of groceries. "Oh no, the car door didn't close all the way. What are you going to do?" In unison, they all slammed the imaginary door with their free hip. They all laughed, and more importantly, they began to relax and enjoy themselves. I reminded them of how strong their arms, hips, and legs are, and dancing was a way of putting it all together.

When we lead and educate others, it's essential to pay attention to how people take in the information we're providing. We need to be observant and watch for signs of frustration, annoyance, or impatience. We can't take it personally. Instead, we may need to question where the communication breakdown is. Are we using business jargon not understood in this particular group? Are the analogies we're using not matching the material we're presenting? How are you supposed to do a hip snap if you're holding a child on each side?

We should be flexible in our messaging to ensure our audience leaves with a greater understanding of our work. I try to talk to as many people as possible before getting on stage. If the situation permits, I'll try to contact a few of the attendees beforehand to better understand their expectations of my talk. Sometimes, I will have the good fortune of hearing a personal story from an audience member related to the subject matter. I will include it in my presentation as long as I have their permission. It helps solidify my relationship with the group, and I feel I'm speaking their language.

The goal of imparting information, whether it's business or social, is to communicate and have a mutual understanding. No one wants to be talked down to or feel the data is over our heads. We want to share our experiences and perspectives to help each other. Learning anything new can make us feel uncomfortable, but finding a way to have some laughs helps everyone continue to grow.

By the way, if you are holding a kid on each hip and the car door didn't close all the way, it's time you learned how to bump it with your backside.

About the author

Celeste DeCamps has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Miami. She worked in radio and television, was a professional belly dancer, drummer, percussionist, nightclub owner, and a sales rep for Southern Wine and Spirits for 12 years. Throughout her different career moves, speaking to and teaching women how to be more confident is Celeste's most fulfilling job.

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