Whether it’s in life or business, communication is everything. At some point or another, you’ll deal with big egos, hot-headed figures and people lacking the self-confidence to speak up. Not knowing how to communicate with different types of people can cause problems both at work and in your personal life.
It all actually boils down to communicating with confidence. Here’s how to do it effectively.
Execution and Language
Confidence…or at Least Appearing to Be
This is probably the first piece of advice you’ll get when you search for tips online. It’s simple - if you don’t consider yourself to be confident then you won’t appear that way. But pretending to be confident is pretty much the same as actually being confident. The more confident you appear in the way you communicate, the more people will believe that you are.
Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself acting confident all the time.
A lot of the time, it’s thought that being confident depends on what you say or the words you use. But flip it and you’ll realise it actually depends on what the other person hears which is why communicating clearly is vital.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Maintain eye contact and smile while you’re speaking.
- Speak at a steady pace so the other person understands what you’re saying.
- Take a few risks like showing some humour. Like confidence, it’s infectious so spread it as much as you can. This can help conversations go more smoothly.
- Don’t use ‘maybe’ words like ‘just’, ‘perhaps’, or ‘like’ as it can undersell what you’re trying to say.
Use Specific Language
This is where you need to know your audience before communicating with them. The terms and phrases you use might not be in their vocabulary which means things can often be lost in translation. There might also be a language barrier which will change how you speak and the words you use.
Also, use language that’s really clear so the conversation doesn’t end and there’s absolutely no ambiguity surrounding what you said. Know your audience, communicate how they do and make everything clear.
Not everyone likes to be talked to as if they’re receiving a lecture. In a business setting especially, it can be a good idea to provoke questioning and gain input from the person you’re talking to. Whether it’s challenging back and forth or provoking a response, this type of dialogue can create the most effective conversations.
Try to avoid speaking down to anyone. Be cooperative and open-minded so that you inspire dialogue which builds solutions. The last thing you want is a quiet person becoming internally combative because you’ve communicated in the wrong way with them.
Where possible, get their thoughts and views so they feel valued.
When you combine communication skills with emotional intelligence, it enables you to be heard more accurately, inspire and motivate others as well as improve relationships with co-workers. It’s a useful skill to have, especially in an evolving workplace.
Here’s how to improve it which can help you communicate with more confidence.
Respond to Conflict
It’s easy to fall into a habit of reacting to conflict as emotional outbursts and feelings of anger are common. As an emotionally intelligent person, you’ll know how to stay calm during stressful situations which means you won’t make any impulsive decisions.
Show Some Assertiveness
Assertive communication is a good way to earn some respect. There’s obviously a fine balance between being too aggressive or being a pushover, but emotionally intelligent people know how to communicate their thoughts directly without disrespecting anyone.
If you can empathise with others, it shows you have a lot of emotional strength. If you improve this, it opens the door for mutual respect with co-workers and helps you understand those who have a different opinion from yours.
You need to be self-aware and intuitive, or at least work on it. Show that you’re aware of your own emotions and how they can affect people around you. This trait is crucial when it comes to emotional intelligence and communicating confidently as it allows you to pick up on the emotions and body language of others.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
You can’t underestimate the power of a positive attitude. A negative attitude can easily infect others around you whereas emotionally intelligent people have an awareness of the moods of those around them. For example, working on this skill means you can read and understand body language better to know when to approach someone or how to best talk to them.
Body Language and Mannerisms
“60% of all human communication is nonverbal - body language. 30% is your tone. So that means that 90% of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth.”
You probably didn’t expect to read a quote from Will Smith in Hitch, but the sentiment is powerful. Body language can make or break the way you communicate.
Utilise your social skills with the people you’re talking to so they want to communicate with you. If you always look demotivated, slouched and grumpy then it gives off the vibe that you don’t want anyone speaking to you.
Smile, show a genuine interest in a conversation and watch out for your tone. How you act and appear when communicating will reflect in the way you talk to someone.
Maintain Eye Contact
When you keep eye contact with the person you talk to, it indicates that you’re genuinely interested, focused and paying attention. Showing the person opposite that you’re aware of what they’re saying will make you more approachable in the future. It also shows respect and understanding but most of all, it shows confidence.
In her book ‘The Body Language Advantage’, expert Lillian Glass stressed the importance of eye contact. She wrote: “When eye contact is maintained, it signifies the power over a situation and establishes dominance.”
Although it’s often unnoticed, it’s a useful skill to possess.
Listen - Don’t Just Talk
Although the aim is to communicate your message, don’t assume that the other person might not have something to say or that their input isn’t valuable. A conversation is a two-way street so those around you also need to have moments to speak their mind and provide their thoughts.
Giving them the platform to do that not only makes you more approachable but will improve your confidence in future conversations as well.
A lack of confidence is something that holds a lot of people back, whether it’s in the way they communicate, when they’re public speaking or anything in between. To help with that, we’ve created a handbook designed to help you overcome these challenges.
The Tactics for Communicating Effectively
Whether you want the ability to present without fear or communicate with more confidence, the Communication Skills Handbook features tactics and advice on a variety of challenges. To get your hands on a copy, click on the link below.