Communicating with Confidence
Being an effective or good communicator is a huge selling point across all job roles and life situations, whether you’re a child, parent, school teacher, a team leader, a private practitioner, or a performer. A good level of communication is vital to maintain any relationship, professional, familial, or romantic. Being able to communicate well can also often result in being seen as more competent at a job, but it’s not always recognised or practiced.
Here are some tips that will help you become an effective communicator so you can always express yourself and your views as a child, teenager or an adult:
1. Know what you’re talking about
You don’t need to think through everything you say, but that old adage of thinking before you open your mouth does ring true. If you’re talking in a professional setting, and you need to relay some knowledge to staff members or employees, it’s important to know your subject matter well. By knowing your subject matter, you will be able to speak with authority and passion, which will make you much more likely to get your point across clearly – this will make you a good communicator.
2. Keep it simple, and stay on message
It’s extremely distracting to listen to someone who keeps digressing. Not only is it hard to follow, but it makes the speaker seem like they aren’t sure of the point they are trying to make. This goes for public speaking as well as addressing colleagues.
Think about it: if your boss tried to pass on some important information, but kept going off on tangents, you’d find it hard to concentrate and you’d probably think they didn’t know what they were talking about. To that end, make your communication concise and clear, so there is no future ambiguity about what was said.
Do you have a friend that takes ten minutes to tell a short anecdote because they keep following other thoughts? This is fine when you’re meeting up with friends for a coffee, but it doesn’t look very professional in a meeting!
3. Watch your body language
We read other people’s body language, whether we realise it or not. If someone is giving us inconsistent body language, or body language that doesn’t match up with what they’re saying, it is likely that we will see them as untrustworthy (whether we should or not).
For example, if you’re sharing some bad news with your family or team with a big, nodding smile on your face, your family or employees will likely think you aren’t taking it seriously, or have some other information you are not sharing.
Equally, if you’re trying to convince family or work colleagues to follow your idea, but have your hand over your mouth or are trying to sink under the table, they’re not going to see you as someone to trust. In short, nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it.
4. Good communicators are engaged listeners
Half of communication is listening, and showing that you’re listening. Again, body language is important here: by smiling and nodding occasionally, you show the other person that you are listening. Wait for your turn to talk, and avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns. This is an extremely important part of communicating effectively, and is often overlooked.
Imagine yourself giving an amazing speech, or having a productive and positive conversation. Many of the great speakers have all taken time out before getting out on stage to visualise. (Athletes do this all the time before competing.)
They imagine they are going through their script, where and how they are standing, what body language to use, how they will interact with their audience and so much more. This is another part of the preparation that is required to build your confidence, and can be particularly helpful if you’re about to give or receive an appraisal at work. If you can see it, hear it, feel it then you will feel more confident and relaxed and you will feel any anxiety about this speech, presentation or conversation go away.
It’s important not just to focus on the subject matter of your speech, conversation, or presentation. It’s the way it’s presented too! With self-awareness, being able to read nonverbal messages, clarity, and confidence, you’re sure to be a good communicator in no time. If you’re looking for some additional help with your speaking skills, you can find out more about how I can help here.