One of the biggest themes that I see come up with my clients is around a lack of confidence when it comes to communicating.
Whether that be in terms of speaking up at a meeting, presenting on a topic in front of peers and key stakeholders, or even just sharing an idea or opinion in a conversation with colleagues or friends.
The world needs us to master this skill.
The world needs us to get out of our own ways. NOW.
And what’s more, if you’re reading this, then it means that you have access to a mobile phone, or a computer or laptop of some kind. It means you have access to the internet. And it means you have the ability to read.
Congratulations! You are already more blessed than so many others out there. And that is why, even more than ever before, we MUST get out of our own ways.
We must stop our own self-limiting beliefs, and squash the little voices in our heads telling us not to speak up, that our opinion isn’t worthy, or that our ideas are dumb.
Because they are NOT.
They are exactly what the world needs.
Now, we just have to be able to communicate them with confidence so that others STOP and LISTEN.
When you think of women who you feel communicate with confidence, who do you think of?
Who comes to your mind? How do they show up? What do they say, and how do they speak?
I’m thinking people like Oprah, Brene Brown, Jacinda Ardern, Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris, all would likely come to mind for a lot of us. But, HOW do they do it?
Well, firstly – they’ve done A LOT of work on the inside. They’ve worked through their ‘stuff’ (that we all have!), and they’ve come out the other side clear on their own unique story, their unique strengths and skillsets, and they know EXACTLY what they bring to the table, and why the world should stop and listen.
But secondly, they’ve also mastered some key traps that so many of us get caught up in when communicating. These are the traps that can lead us to coming across as though we are not confident in ourselves, our abilities, or what we are saying.
Here are a couple of these traps that you won’t see these women do:
- They don’t use fillers when they speak – like “Um” and “Ah”. When speaking you will rarely hear these women use fillers. They speak directly and concisely to ensure that they are heard and that they come across as knowledgeable and confident in what they are saying. If they do need to take a moment to catch themselves, or recall what they need to say next, they will use the power of a pause to do this, not an “ummmmmmmmm” or an “aaahhhhh”.
- They also relish in the power of the pause for impact. If you have ever watched Oprah in particular, she relishes the power of the pause. She will say her piece – succinctly and directly, and then she will stop. Wait. And let people absorb the powerful words that she has just shared. She doesn’t panic that people might not like what she has said and keep talking to try to move past the moment. She waits and therefore commands recognition of what she has just said.
- They don’t rush their time away. If you listen to Jacinda Ardern talk, she doesn’t speak too fast, or try to rush through things. She knows that her thoughts, opinions and ideas are of value and that they deserve their air-time. She won’t diminish herself by saying things like “I’ll just take a minute of your time”, or “I can move through this part quite quickly”. She does not rush. She will be heard and people will listen.
- They stand in their own power. Do I absolutely acknowledge with this point that some of the ladies I have mentioned above are well trained when it comes to presenting on stages to large audiences? I promise this is not lost on me. However, they are also just women, like you and I, who made the decision to show up and get out of their own ways. You’ll notice if you watch them on stage, or even around a table that they don’t play small. They don’t sit with their arms crossed over themselves trying to hide, or looking down at the ground and hoping the world will swallow them whole. They are right up there, making eye contact with everyone looking back at them. They are standing up tall with strong posture, feet apart, head held high. They stand in their power and make sure their body language demonstrates that they know their worth. If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on the power of body language you MUST check it out here. Seriously. Do yourself the favour. You can thank me later.
- They don’t use “Uptalk” on the end of their sentences when they speak. Uptalk, or upspeak is essentially when an inflection goes upwards at the end of a sentence instead of down. It can sound child-like and make every sentence sound like a question instead of a statement. It can also lead the speaker to sound as if they aren’t sure about what they are saying given their commentary consistently sounds like they are questioning.
Communicating with confidence is a critical skill, and one we must continue to master. If you have realised this is something that you need to work on to future-proof your own career, then let’s talk about my ‘Sell yourself with Confidence’ coaching program and get you standing tall and seizing career opportunities, instead of missing out on them.
Learn more about about it here!