Speaking with confidence is usually a problem for many people. It doesn’t have to be a problem for you.
Being able to speak confidently in conversations and in public is important to success and will gain respect. Here is a breakdown of the steps you can take to be a confident speaker.
- The 3-second rule. When you’re speaking with someone, take 3 seconds before you respond. This may seem awkward at first, but it gives you a chance to do a lot of things before you say something you might regret. In addition to letting you think about what you’re going to say, it also allows room for them to continue talking. If they feel uncomfortable in the silence, you’ve gained the upper-hand.
- Have a plan. Go into the conversation with a plan and think about the responses you are likely to get. Play it out like a chess game. Where each move you make has an effect on them, and vice versa.
- Be comfortable. Use your plan to leave room for awkwardness on their part. If they feel like they are fumbling for words and trying to gain your confidence in them, then you’re in control. You have to be comfortable and relaxed enough so that you can say what you want without feeling stupid.
- Don’t talk so much. When you don’t say much, people have to try and assume what you’re thinking. Getting inside your head is much harder than knowing what you feel or think.
It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
- Think about what you say. Take some time to think about what you’re going to say. You’re bound to run into snags, but if you can recover well it will look planned. So take a second and think before you start talking.
- Diction. Enunciate and speak well. Make sure to pronounce your T’s. Try some tongue twisters to improve your diction. Here are a few of my favorites:
She sat upon the balcony inimically mimicking him and amicably welcoming him in.
You have to be careful with this one.
She plucked mother pheasants. She was the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker I ever did meet.
- Use proper English. You will sound smarter, more confident, and feel better. Colloquialisms are great for friendly conversation but not for confident speaking.
- Don’t smile so much. People take smiling as a sign of warmth but also a sign of emotional involvement. The more distant you are, the harder it is for someone to disregard you.
- Look them in the eye. This shows confidence and makes the other person know you mean business.
- Don’t look down. People believe that if you are looking down you don’t know what you’re talking about. They might also think you are lying. Fight the urge to look at your feet and look into the other person’s eyes instead.
- Show less emotion. The less emotion you show the more people are likely to really listen. Now, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be passionate. Just don’t get crazy excited like Howard Dean. Instead, use your passion to fuel your speech.
- Don’t blink so much. Next time you’re watching a movie during a serious scene, watch the actor’s eyes. If they are good, you will notice they barely blink, if at all. The more people can see your eyes the more sincere they believe you to be.
- Make sure your body language and speech patterns match. If one is exciting and the other dull this will confuse your listeners and make them feel unsure about what you’re saying.
- Practice. Practice your voice, speaking in front of a mirror, and practice with people you are comfortable with. The more you do it, the easier it will come.
By speaking well and having your body language in check you will be able to speak more confidently and be taken seriously. Use these tips in conversation, presentations, and every day speaking and you will be respected.Now go own the world.
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