Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating with confidence, part of Communication Tips.
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- Robert Kiyosaki, author of several New York Times best sellers, said something about confidence that really spoke to me, "Confidence comes from discipline and training". Communicating with confidence is an ongoing process of self development. Let me ask you this, do you look forward to the very first speech you ever gave? Do you remember a tough conversation with a warm feeling in your heart? Did you get excited thinking of a big ask? My guess is no, no, and no.
Improving your communication skills takes practice and discipline. In this segment, I will describe confident communication behaviors and give you a few tips for practicing them. What you show. Confident communicators enter a room with ease. They come across as authentically connected to their surroundings and they have an aura of positive presence around them. It's what you wear, it's how you carry yourself, give a handshake, the way you sit, or you stand tall.
Confidence is exuded in all the external signals that create first impressions. You may have heard the statistic that first impressions are made in the first three seconds of an interaction. That is what a confident communicator shows. If you don't know how your presence communicates, ask a credible source for feedback. You may not want to ask someone who knows you, but someone who just met you. Brenda and I often do a party activity in a presence builder training session where we let people interact, and then they share feedback with one another.
Another technique is to record yourself while you open a speech or kick off a meeting. These initial bouts of energy directly translate to confidence. What you say. Confident communicators speak with conviction, poise, energy, and a comfortable style. The best public speakers make their comments sound as personable as if they would be with you in a room, just the two of you. Confident communication lacks fillers. The umm's, the ahh's that litter our sentences, at times.
The mindless words such as so, you know, right, and the winner of them all, the up-talk. The valley girl like questions at the end of a sentence. How can you tell if you communicate with confidence? Listen to a voice mail you sent a colleague or turn off the screen and listen to the audio of your presentation. Did you get to the point? Did you communicate your ideas with enough emotion and logic? Did you put together compelling messages? Do not discard written communication.
Stellar writers exude confidence in their words and the art of the message design. What you do. This category of confident communication includes all the non-verbal behaviors you demonstrate past the short first impressions. So let's start from the top down. Eye contact. Eye contact is comfortable, personable, and attentive. I always tell people to look in the eyes of their audience as if they would be asked to recall everyone's eye color, later.
Body movement is poised and appropriate to the situation. If a confident communicator's sitting at a meeting table, she takes up enough space to communicate her influence, leans in to speak, sits up tall when she talks, and she uses open gestures to accentuate her points. Personal space reflects the situation. Confident communicators read their surroundings and adapt accordingly. You may see them walking around the audience in a presentation. Reaching and shaking hands, and extending to the additional touch point, right above the elbow, we call that the capital hill handshake.
Or, they maintain distance from the person their greeting when they sense that it's not appropriate to get too close. Overall posture is strong, tall, and comfortable. I coach speakers that sometimes are not as comfortable so they end up resting their hands in a fig leaf, or they hold the candle. Some of them stand with their legs crossed in front of an audience. All of these closed body positions communicate insecurity. Open the hands, let them rest by your sides, and just use gestures with ease.
Stand tall without swaying or fidgeting. The same counts in the seated position at your next meeting. If you wonder how you come across with your non-verbal communication, I urge you to record yourself in action and then watch by turning the volume off. Have a trusted colleague by your side and ask him or her how they think you communicate with confidence. What are a few things that you can do to work on being more impactful. What you believe.
I leave this confidence mind set last because it's the one that builds on all the rest. The more you practice the verbals and non-verbals, the more feedback you receive, and work on improving your skills, the better you will become. Improvement feeds the continuous cycle of excellence. Watch social psychologist, Amy Cuddy's ted talk called Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are and set a goal or two for yourself in the next month. Ask for feedback from people watching you in action, and keep practicing.
As Amy says, "You don't have to master the non-verbals of confidence before you try them, sometimes you have to fake it 'til you make it". Communicating with confidence is more about what you show than what you say. Practice and discipline will get you there.
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