Speaking With Confidence
Do you want to learn how to speak with confidence? How do you feel when you see someone else talk confidently and clearly about what they are passionate about? While it might feel as though everyone else speaks more confidently than you, trust that you are not alone with this issue.
In general, you can learn how to speak with confidence by making small changes in how you speak and present yourself. The three things that will have the biggest impact on how confident you come across are your tone of voice, rate of speech, and body language.
The best way to get over your fear is to practice, but sometimes that alone isn’t enough. In this blog post, I will go over a variety of ways to speak with confidence so that you can be a speaker who captivates your audience!
Speak Slowly and Clearly, Don’t Rush Through Your Words
Speaking too fast or mumbling can make you seem insecure. When you speak quickly, it is also difficult to understand what you are saying. This makes it hard for your listener to follow along with what you’re saying and they may lose interest. Instead, try slowing down your speech and enunciating your words clearly. If this isn’t how you naturally speak, it may feel awkward at first. Practice at home alone if you need to until it starts to feel more like you.
Stop Making Your Statements Sound like a Question
Do you tend to raise your voice at the end of sentences, making them sound like a question? People who have social anxiety or who are natural people pleasers do this instinctively to soften what they are saying in case the other person does not agree. If you want to sound more confident, stop making your statements sound like questions. Listen to the first part of the video below to see what I mean.
Maintain Eye Contact with the Other Person
When you are speaking, make eye contact 50% of the time. If you are speaking to an audience, shift your gaze to make eye contact with a new person every few seconds. If making eye contact feels too hard, try looking at the bridge of your listener’s nose. This will make you feel like you are looking at them in the eyes. I’ve also written about nine ways to manage eye contact anxiety in another post.
Keep Your Voice at a Moderate Volume (Loud Enough to Be Heard)
It’s important to speak at a volume that is loud enough to be heard. How do you know if your voice is too soft? People will ask you to repeat yourself, lean in to hear you, or turn their heads to one side when you speak. If you naturally speak with a quiet voice, it may sound too loud when you first talk at a moderate volume. However, over time it will come more naturally.
Smile When You Speak (It Makes You Sound More Confident)
Smiling while you speak is a trick that can help you sound more confident. How does it work? Smiling helps your voice rise in pitch, making the tone higher and lighter. When your tone is higher-pitched overall, you will come across as happier, which makes people much more likely to listen to what you have to say. For most conversations, smiling while you speak will make you seem more relaxed and confident.
Use Hand Gestures to Emphasize What You Are Saying
If you normally stay rigid while speaking, try making use of hand gestures to emphasize what you are saying. Hand gestures can increase your perceived confidence because they provide visual cues for the listener to go along with what you are saying. If you don’t naturally use gestures, try watching someone on video who talks with their hands and copy what they do.
Speak in a Lower Tone for Serious Topics
Speaking with a low tone is also important as it helps people take what you are saying seriously. Speaking in a lower tone subconsciously tells the person listening that whatever you’re talking about is serious and deserves attention. This is best reserved for those situations when you have to speak about a serious topic or want someone to give you their full attention.
Get Rid of Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts will only get in the way of your ability to speak confidently. Stop thinking negatively about yourself and embrace confidence by telling yourself positive things like, “I am confident” or “I know what I’m doing.” If you have social anxiety, I have a whole list of positive affirmations for you to use.
Use the Power of a Pause
Pauses help people who are listening to you understand that that the point you’re making is very important and needs their attention. Pauses also give the other person a chance to think about what you’ve said and you a chance to think about what you will say next. One of the best ways to show confidence while you speak is to be comfortable with silence instead of rushing to fill it with words.
Avoid Using Filler Words Like “Um” and “Uh”
Have you ever tried to listen to someone who uses a lot of filler words? How much time do they spend saying “um” and “uh”? Instead of using these filler words, learn to pause in silence as noted above. A silent pause exudes much more confidence than a bunch of filler words will ever do.
If You Make an Error, Apologize Once and Don’t Dwell On It
Nobody is perfect! If you make a mistake while speaking in front of people, don’t beat yourself up about it afterward. Just admit your mistake once with confidence and move forward without dwelling on the error or apologizing any more than that. If you stumble over your words, correct yourself but don’t put yourself down. Everyone makes mistakes or trips over their words sometimes.
Don’t Slouch or Fidget; Stand Up Straight and Hold Your Head High
Body language plays a role in communication, too. How you hold yourself while speaking can have a significant impact on how confident people perceive you to be when communicating with them. If your body language is conveying that you are uncomfortable or nervous about something, then the message will not come across as clearly and confidently as it should. How do you avoid this? By standing up straight and holding your head high!
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Find a Role Model to Emulate
Find someone whose confidence you admire and emulate them. How do you find this person? By looking for someone who is confident in their communication abilities! Observe how they hold themselves when communicating. Pay attention to the posture that they use and mimic it to become more like them.
Maintain Open Body Language
Open body language shows that you are an approachable person who is willing to communicate with everyone. How do you maintain open body language? Some specific ways to do this include uncrossing your arms, showing your hands, pointing your body toward your listener, and standing close enough. Below are some examples of open body language:
- showing your hands
- uncrossing your arms
- standing close/leaning in
- pointing your body toward the listener
Project Your Voice
Projecting your voice shows others that what you are saying means something to you, which in turn makes you appear more confident. Take deep breaths from your diaphragm before speaking so that others can hear what you have to say clearly.
Use Short Sentences and Simple Words
The most confident-sounding person is ironically not the one with the largest vocabulary. Short sentences with concrete words are the best way to communicate, making you sound more sure of yourself.
Be Positive and Cheerful
An optimistic attitude is contagious! How can you expect others to like speaking with you if every word out of your mouth has a negative connotation? Making positive statements will make you sound more confident and self-assured. This doesn’t mean that every conversation has to be more; rather, that your default mode of communicating should have an upbeat and positive tone.
Show Emotion When Speaking
Don’t be afraid to show emotion when you speak. This will help people relate to you and understand where you are coming from. It’s much easier for others to listen if they can connect with the person who is speaking, so be sure to smile often and use “I” statements. Also, try to tell stories and anecdotes to help make your point and keep your listener engaged.
Use Volume, Pitch, Rate, and Tone to Your Advantage
Everyone has a different voice and it’s important to find the best way to express yourself when speaking. For example, some people have high voices so they might need to speak slower and louder whereas someone with a lower pitch might want to speed up their rate of speech. It really depends on your personal preference but you can tell if you are using volume, pitch, rate, or tone correctly by paying attention to how others react while listening. If people aren’t responding well then try changing something about the way you talk until it feels like your listeners are more engaged.
Take Care of Yourself So You Feel Good About How You Look
Taking care of yourself can help you feel good about yourself, and when it comes time to speak in front of someone else, this can be a good confidence booster. Doing little things like wearing nice clothing or makeup can help you feel more confident and in turn, speak with confidence. While this may seem superficial and unimportant to speaking confidently, you’d be surprised what a difference small changes can make in how you feel.
Speak From the Heart and With Conviction
Believe in your message and speak from the heart. When you speak with confidence, it doesn’t matter if people don’t agree with what you have to say, because you are speaking from a place of conviction and that is all that matters. Again, if you have a tendency toward being a people pleaser, you might find it hard not to fine-tune your message for your listener. Start by acknowledging your natural tendencies and gradually working to change them over time.
Take Time to Practice Speaking in Front of a Mirror
Practicing in front of the mirror can be one of the most important ways to learn how to speak with confidence. How you look while speaking is just as important as what words are coming out. Take note of things such as eye contact, facial expressions, posture, etc. When these aspects can come naturally for you then this is when you know that your practice has paid off.
Do you have tips on how to speak confidently or have you learned how to exude more confidence? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Related Posts about Confidence
- 12 Amazingly Helpful Public Speaking Books
- Where to Find Public Speaking Classes
- How Do You Overcome Zoom Anxiety?
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How to Speak with Confidence
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