6 Tips for Speaking With Confidence
Were you always the quiet one growing up? Did butterflies overtake your stomach when it was your turn to get up and speak in front of the class?
Did Architecture School push you out of your shell and help you with public speaking? Chances are some of the brutal professors passing through didn't make it any easier, right?
If you are still struggling with speaking with confidence, you're not alone. Almost all of us have been there, and many of us still are.
Whether you're on a stage in front of hundreds, a speaking guest on a podcast, asking for a raise, or on site with a team of four, asserting your opinions confidently can be nerve-wracking. It is not easy to overcome, especially in such a male-dominated field.
It most definitely takes time, practice, and a conscious effort to become a great speaker.
Below are 6 tips you can use to improve your daily speaking skills. Some practice and fine-tuning will have you effortlessly communicating with confidence before you know it.
6 Tips For Speaking With Confidence:
1. SLOW DOWN
When we get nervous, everything speeds up - from our heart rates to our words. Don't feel rushed by the moment. Take your time, gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and then begin. While speaking, remember to slow down; your audience will hear your every word and be drawn in to your narrative.
2. DON'T FORGET YOUR PUNCTUATION
On that note, don't forget to punctuate. Speak your words the way you would want to read them. Reading a long run-on sentence is exhausting. Listening to one is a turn-off as well. It can make you sound scattered and rushed. Mind your punctuation, and don't forget to pause. It may feel awkward in your mind, but in reality, you will appear confident and on top of your game.
3. ELIMINATE "POWER-CRUSHING" WORDS FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
Just...actually...like...maybe...sorry. These common words can easily creep into your dialogue and undermine your power.
"I was just hoping that..." "I actually wanted to say that..." "It's like a great opportunity to..." "Maybe I can get more information on that..." "I'm sorry but...".
These words not only degrade what you have to say, but also make you sound unsure, insecure, and noncommittal.
Instead try: "I was hoping that..." "I wanted to tell you that..." "This is a great opportunity to..." "I would like more information regarding that...".
Say what you mean, and only apologize when an apology is necessary! Get the idea?
4. BE A STORYTELLER
Why is it that most of us are great storytellers around the table, capturing our friends' attention, yet when it comes time to speak in a business setting, we clam up and struggle? Regardless of the topic, think of what you have to say as a story. Speak from within; don't treat everything as a rigid checklist. When we turn information into a narrative we can capture the attention of our audience and speak more naturally.
5. TELL YOURSELF YOU'RE EXCITED - NOT NERVOUS
It's almost your time to speak. You can feel the nerves building. Don't forget the concept of mind over matter. Tell yourself that you're excited...not nervous! It's a thrill to have everyone's attention!
Preparedness is key. It is best to take an hour to think about what you want to say, write down some notes, and practice speaking. While there are some people that can "wing it" and sound like pros...being prepared never hurt anyone.