To be effective when you’re speaking, you need to be confident. Your client wants to hear that from you. So does your audience in your workshops. The words you choose are an important part of conveying a confident image.
That’s a good thing to keep in mind when you’re writing your talks and presentations. And your blog posts and elevator speeches – across the board in your communications for your business.
But your choice of language is also really important in your everyday speech. You might think that’s totally separate from your business speaking, but it’s not. The way you talk in the rest of your daily life is what shows up when you’re un-scripted in business situations like these:
- when you answer questions from prospective clients
- when you coach and mentor your people
- when you field questions from class participants
- when you’re being interviewed
So it’s critical for you to practice speaking confidently in your everyday speaking.
Omit Meek Language
Being confident is about being your real authentic self and stepping forward. So it’s not so much about having to add to your language. It’s often more about leaving out words your that your bold self hides behind. I think of Michelangelo’s remark about creating the statue of David: “You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.” You can sound more confident by chipping away the words that don’t sound like the confident you.
Here are the kinds of words to get rid of:
- Waffling words – These words make you sound like you’re afraid to fully commit to the statement you’re making. Examples are “kind of” and “sort of.” Hear the confidence difference: “You need to sort of listen to what you’re saying because you sound kind of unsure of yourself” vs. “You need to listen to what you’re saying because you sound unsure of yourself.”
- Minimizers – These weaken the strength of what you have to say. Examples are “a little” and “a tad.” Hear the confidence difference: “You need to choose words that are a little stronger; otherwise you come across as a tad unsure of yourself.” vs.” You need to choose words that are stronger; otherwise you come across as unsure of yourself.”
- Filler words – Examples are “You know” and “like.” These distract the listener and detract from the solidness of what you’re saying. Hear the confidence difference: “You’re – like – making good progress, but you need to – you know – practice more.” vs. “You’re making good progress, but you need to practice more.”
Listen to yourself – even record some conversations or phone calls (with permission of the other party, of course!) You can also enroll the help of a buddy to give you honest feedback. Once you become aware, you can practice just leaving out those words and you’ll be surprised at how much more confident you sound.
BONUS: When you hear yourself speaking more confidently, you will actually feel more confident. It’s an upward spiral that builds on itself. The more confident you feel, the more confidently you speak, which makes you feel more confident, which makes you speak more confidently….You win all the way around!
What are your thoughts about this? Let us know in the comment box below. And if SpeakUp coaching can help your speaking confidence, contact me and let’s get started.