It’s pretty easy to spot a person who has confidence when they speak, there is an effortlessness about them, it’s not forced and it doesn’t sound rehearsed nor do they ramble on. They have a purpose and clarity to their message and there is a certain presence that they command as they are not intimidated by an audience. While a confident communicator is easy to recognize, what is not always as easy to pinpoint is what specifically makes them so. That’s what I want to break down for your today so you can become a more effective speaker and an overall more confident, classy woman.
1. Speak Up to Be Heard- If you are coming across as overly quiet and meek, people will quickly tune you out, no matter how valuable your message is. You don’t need to yell to raise your voice (that’s what microphones are for) but do make sure your voice can be heard and you speak clearly so you’re easily understood.
2. Remove Filler Words- Since the goal is to sound like a lady with a point to communicate, it’s essential to refrain from using the words ‘um, uh huh, uh, yup, yeah, like and other similar sorts of words. Clearly communicate without all the extras and try to keep your message to the point using the greatest range of vocabulary that you can.
3. Maintain Good Posture- If you want to exude confidence, correct posture can go a long way. Sitting or standing up straight and tall with shoulders back (not hunched), chest slightly up and out along with chin up conveys a presence of inner confidence. If you don’t feel that way when presenting or speaking in front of a group, try this anyway and your body language will help get your mind into a more confident state. You want to create an inviting presence, not come across as a shrinking violet with her head down.
4. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously- Be willing to laugh at yourself! If you say something that made more sense in your mind before speaking it or you mispronounce a word or use the wrong word (it happens to the best of us), laughing at yourself or brushing it off will go a long way to appear human and show your truth authentic confidence. You also don’t want to be so serious that you lack the ability to be present in the moment or forget to smile while speaking. What you’re sharing might in fact be a serious conversation or topic, but even that can be made lighter so others around you feel comfortable, which at the end of the day is the goal of every classy woman.
5. Educate Yourself- It isn’t wise to chime in on or talk on end about topics that you don’t truly know in depth. In such situations, it’s far better to spend time just being an observer and active listener, learning all that you can on the topic at hand versus feeling the need to be a contributor when you don’t really have much to add. This is also a great opportunity to learn more by asking thoughtful questions. Everyone has an opinion and they’ll all differ from one another, so instead be a woman who brings meaningful insight, facts and experiences to the conversation. A funny story or something that relates is fine, but it’s advised to sit quietly. It’s always better to remain silent than open your mouth up and prove that you aren’t sure what you’re talking about. When asked to speak, presenting or in social networking environments, it’s best to come armed with a few topics or newsworthy bits that pertain to the event so that you do in fact feel confident speaking to others. In my experience confidence is gained through not only experience, but also increased education whether that be formal or through your own research.
6. Dress Well- When we dress our best, we naturally feel elevated and wonderful about ourselves. That said, dressing well should include fuss-free clothing, shoes and accessories that are not going to take attention away from what we have to say, in turn causing your audience to fixate on your stilettos that appear to be hard to walk in or earrings that are sparkly and distracting. This should always be the goal whether you intend on speaking in front of others or not. If you want to be taken seriously, let’s just be honest-hair up in a ponytail with ripped jeans and a tee will not come across as authoritative as someone who has put more thought into their overall appearance and clothing such as a skirt with blazer and simple blouse with pumps. One looks the professional and educated part, while the other may look like casual weekend attire. That said, the opposite can at times also be true if you work in a trendy city or are in the fashion or design industry where this is expected, in which case the aforementioned professional attire would be a bit out of place. Overall, you will never go wrong with being well dressed and erring on the more professional side.
7. Bring Positive Energy- Your authentic energy often enters the room as you walk in before you even open your mouth to speak, so it’s important to make sure it’s positive. When someone is excited or passionate about what they’re sharing, they naturally have a high level of positive energy, this can be heard in their voice through their intonation and a level of enthusiasm for what they’re talking about. Happy, positive people also generally have a knack for being problem solvers, their optimism can be contagious and they are far more engaging than someone who brings forth complaints and negativity. We all naturally want to be around others who are happy, light and offer a positive vibe.
8. Practice a Confident Pose- I can’t take credit for the superman/wonder woman pose I’m about to mention, it came from a YouTube video of Tony Robbins that I listened to where he reveals that before going on stage, into a boardroom or before an interview, we can use a specific pose to build ourselves up. The idea is to stand with arms and legs spread apart with hands resting on one’s waist, which is a pose of confidence and strength. Lifting weights or going for a run earlier in the day before you need to speak are other ideas (and great daily habits) that will allow you to feel in your most peak state. If you’ve listened to Tony’s messages, you’ll know he often speaks on how motion creates emotion and just by changing your body’s state, you can gain new energy. I have tried this pose along with using a starfish pose (arms out to the sky) and have found it helpful.
A final note: If you are venturing into the world of public speaking, are required to deliver regular presentations to your team or clients at work or just want to improve the way you speak while in larger social settings, one of the best ways to accomplish this is by practicing. They key is consistency, nobody is great at anything from the beginning. The more you educate yourself on a variety of topics by reading books or articles, listening to the news and podcasts, along with regularly conversing with others, the easier this will become. If you are someone who works from home or within an office where you speak to very few people daily, I highly encourage you to find some outlets that offer fun, social experiences such as book clubs, group dinners and anything you can to enhance this skill set.
What tips have you tried to have a more confident presence when you speak?