6 Easy Ways to Communicate With More Confidence

By: Mitzi Reaugh
Mar 18, 2017 | BE
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Not all of us are blessed with the ability to communicate with confidence.  But, it's easier to improve your speaking style than you might think.  You don't need to expand your vocabulary with SAT words. Sometimes, just a few simple fixes can make a big difference.  If you're tired of complaining about being talked over, mumbling, or lacking presence, try these tips to improve your self-confidence ....


#1. JUST DON'T


Some words immediately take-away your authority in any conversation and just is one of them!

Just - is a qualifier that is frequently used to minimize the impact of your statement.  The question is...  what are you qualifying?  Your perspective?  We've tried to eliminate this word from conversations and emails it's just tough... err, scratch that.  It is tough!  But it's rather addictive to feel the power of statements when they aren't qualified. 

As a simple test, do a keyword search of the word 'just'. before you send an email.  Is it in there a lot?  If so, think how you can re-phrase your message.  



So, really, just don't.


#2 STOP APOLOGIZING

We did an experiment to take note of how often we find ourselves apologizing on a given day.  Bump into somebody on the street and "I'm sorry" slips out without a second thought.  Talking with a friend and find yourself saying "I'm sorry, I'm talking too much."  But really... what are you sorry for?

"Sorry" can often be replaced by "excuse me".  Or even more surprisingly often by "thank you".  We love the challenge of trying to re-phrase using words that more accurately reflect your sentiment. Instead of saying to a friend, "Sorry for talking so much".  You can say, "Thank you for listening."



Instead of "sorry" try using "thank you" or "excuse me" for a few days.  See if you notice a difference.

To be clear, we still recommend apologizing if you've done something wrong or hurt someone.  In fact, by minimizing the endless filler apologies in a day, you may deliver a more heartfelt apology when it really is needed.  

#3 RELEASE YOUR AGENDA

Forming a human connection with another person is so powerful.  How often do you find yourself rushing to share your news before taking in the situation and connecting with the other person.  We recommend starting important discussions with a human connection.  Take a breath.  Look around and observe the situation.  You may pick-up on context that will affect how you address your topics.  
Let the conversation take on a more organic approach and you may discover insights and connections you would miss otherwise.

Worried you'll forget to cover the important topics?  

Write down any questions you need to cover in an important discussion before you begin. Often just writing down the list will remove the burning urgency to cover them all in the first 5 minutes of a discussion. And before finishing a discussion, you can refer back to the list.  It gives your mind a break from having to remember the list of topics and allows you to focus on making a connection.
 

#4 EMBRACE THE SILENCE


Have you ever found yourself catching up with a friend to find her firing question after question before you even have a chance to think through your first answer?  When you're discussing an important topic, silence is important to give the other person a chance to reply.

In fact, one of the golden rules in sales and negotiation is to "STOP TALKING!".  Let the other person respond to what you've said even if it means a few moments of awkward silence.  You maybe surprised at the response you get back.  


#5 ER, UM, LIKE, SAY GOODBYE TO FILLER WORDS

It's time to face the facts.  If you want to speak with confidence, you need to eliminate filler words like:
er
um
okay
like
well
you know

Also be aware of words you may use too frequently. Some of these words are:
Basically
Literally
Actually
Totally

Not sure how many filler words you're using? Try recording yourself in a conversation to see how you sound.  We used our iphone to record one side of a phone conversation and were amazed to see the number of filler words used just in making a quick appointment.  Once you've identified your commonly used filler words, you'll hear yourself saying them all the time.  When you're about to speak the filler word, pause and take a breath.  You'll sound more concise and eventually it will become second nature.

#6 BE YOURSELF

We tend to imagine effective communicators as someone standing in front of a large crowd delivering a presentation with ease.  But really, it's the every day meetings and conversations where being an effective communicator comes in handy.  

Humans are social beings and connecting on a personal level brings empathy and makes conversations more memorable.  

Share personal tidbits.  Smile.  Laugh.  The more relaxed you are in a conversation, the more likely your points will be effectively communicated.