Communicate confidently in 6 steps


By Fatoumatta Kurang

For anyone who has to sell a product, service or themselves in any way shape or form, it will be abundantly clear that feeling and exuberating confidence is key to getting that smile, nod and handshake.

Communicating confidently helps to engage your listener and will form the basis of what they think about what you are saying. Ultimately, they will much more likely buy into whatever you are talking about if your words are backed with confidence as opposed to a jittering nervous wreck!

The more confident you are, the easier you will find interacting with other people on a business level and having self-confidence will help you to communicate clearly and speak with passion and conviction.

So, as you sit in your home office, on your sofa or at your kitchen table, if the idea of speaking to strangers about what you do makes your stomach turn and makes you want to jump back onto to Facebook and browse through your news feed, then practising these basic steps will do wonders for you. And if you are not necessarily filled with fear and feel pretty confident, but could do with some nuggets of advice to boost your confidence further, read on:

1.    Get rid of ‘urm’ ‘erm’ and ‘like’. Practise speaking without using these types of interjections, they will make you sound unsure of what you’re saying and inevitably will make the person listening to you start to look for their exit point. If you’re still working and doing your business on the side, practise this skill at work in meetings and in discussions with your colleagues. As you develop a new habit you will find yourself speaking clearer and, yes you’ve got it – with more confidence!

2.    Stand with your head held high. Don’t underestimate good posture – no one likes a sloucher! Straighten your back and lift your head (avoid the rigid statue look though, be relaxed).

3.    Make eye contact. This seems so obvious but so many people look everywhere else but the face. Looking directly at someone when you’re speaking to them will keep their attention on you and it’s a sign of respect – looking at your feet or around the room may be mistaken for disinterest on your part. Making eye contact can feel awkward; you start to wonder ‘Is my stare too intense?’ ‘Have I been looking too long’ ‘I think I’m just coming across weird!’ A good tip is to look at the other person’s forehead instead, but a great way to rid yourself of your subconscious’ ramblings is to practise making eye contact. With your partner or a friend, just sit staring at each other in silence, whilst keeping a straight face. You’ll feel ridiculous at first, but it’ll get easier with practise.

4.    Encourage participation. Nothing is worse than being part of a conversation where the person is speaking at you, and not to you. Ask questions and most importantly, listen. The more you engage the other person, the quicker you will find yourself building good rapport and having an easy flowing two way chat.

5.    Smile. This is another one that seems so obvious, but when nerves set in, the fear stricken face can be a real conversation killer. So remember to smile, in doing so you will automatically feel more relaxed and make the other person feel more relaxed and willing to listen.

6.    Use humour. This can be a great ice breaker and can make talking about something that you’re nervous about easier. Using humour is also another way to make yourself and the other person feel at ease and relaxed. It shows that you are comfortable and therefore conveys confidence.  A word of caution though, be mindful of being cheesy and unless you’re a stand up comedian, don’t tell jokes – if it works you will get some laughter, but if it flops, the impact of this can be far worse, so don’t take the risk.

Making the transition from employee to entrepreneur can be tough, and a lack of confidence in your business and your ability to communicate what you’re doing convincingly, can be crippling. Arm yourself with the right tools so that you can enjoy the experience and increase your chances of success tenfold. Practise the simple steps above, after all, practise makes perfect as the saying goes…

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