4 Tips for Confident Communication
As someone, who in my teens and twenties used to blush right up to the tips of my ears every time I spoke in public, I know how hard it can feel to speak confidently. It was a painful process, but learning to step outside my comfort zone, advance preparation, training and using every opportunity to practice, eventually enabled me to speak comfortably and confidently in public. That said, even the most confident people can benefit from working on their communication style!
Try out these quick tips to feel more confident in how you communicate:
1. Be Prepared
Before going into a meeting, go through the agenda and any pre-read documents, consider where you might want to contribute, what questions to ask, and what you want to walk away with. If you’re presenting, go through your talking points and anticipate any questions that might come your way. When we’re properly prepared, we’re able to showcase our knowledge and expertise more effectively.
2. Be clear on your message
Whether you’re speaking or writing, identify the one thing you want your audience or recipients to walk away with. Repeat the phrase verbatim when you speak or use it as the subject line of your email. It’ll mean you’re focussing your audience’s attention to the biggest takeaway you want them to remember.
3. Your Body Language Speaks Volumes
Remember to consider the three golden questions – what do I want my audience to know? What do I want them to do? And most importantly, what do I want them to feel? How you want them to feel will affect your delivery. Studies have shown that non-verbal communication has 65% to 93% more influence than actual content. So, "how you say it" is more important than "what you say". Think about your posture, eye contact, and use body language that is congruent with your message (i.e. if you’re talking about a deeply sensitive subject, avoid big smiles and laughter)
4. Take your cues from communicators you admire
Observe and learn from those who do it well. Who do you admire at work for their communication skills? How does this person engage others or respond to difficult questions? Pay attention to the behaviours and strategies they use – how they present information, ask questions, or summarise actions in a meeting. You can even ask for pointers on how they do it.
If you feel you’re not making the impact you want and would like support in building your communication skills, get in touch!