You’ve got brilliant ideas and know your subject like the back of your hand. You’ve done the research, established a strategic plan and are thrilled to have the opportunity to finally get your dreams rolling.
Then, when you least expect it, someone asks for more information about your career aspirations and you find yourself stumbling over your words like a child learning to walk.
After doing your best to explain your beautiful dream, you walk away feeling flat, stupid and worst of all, like your plan is a waste of time.
Communicating with confidence is something all women struggle with at some time in our lives.
This stems from our inherent need to be liked, years of relying on praise to feel good-enough to validate our dreams and the very real fear that our big bold vision will not resonate with the person asking for more info (and therefore subconsciously we have assumed the idea is bad before we even speak).
I do this ALL. THE. TIME.
My brain leaps in before I have the chance to answer and it happily tells me everything that’s wrong with my plan before the other person gets a chance.
I now know, this is a scenario my inner critic thrives on, because the end result is usually me walking way with her in my ear saying, ‘See, I told you it was a stupid idea. You sounded ridiculous.’
The best course of action in this situation is to recognise that with the right tools, these self-sabotaging traits can be easily rectified to make you a master communicator.
Here are five ways to communicate confidently:
1. Believe In Yourself
Before you start rambling on about what you kinda, like, um…, maybe, think, you might, wanna do (mumble mumble mumble) take a deep breath and trust yourself, your vision and your path. Your plans are yours alone. No-one will every really resonate with it until they can see it fully functioning, because it’s not their grand vision. It’s yours.
Guess what? If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will either.
2. Remove Powerless Words
The key to verbal communication is to have confidence in the words you say and proactively remove those that diminish your power including ‘just’ and ‘actually’. “I was just thinking that maybe we could reach our audience faster, if we actually…” The power in your statement has gone in less than 5 seconds. If you presented your argument more concisely such as, “I believe we can reach our target audience by…” this shows the person you’re talking to that you believe in yourself (#1) and you have confidence in your subject too.
3. Don’t Apologise
How many times have you started a sentence with, “I’m sorry but…”? You have the right to make your voice heard and do not need to apologise for raising your point of view. If you really need to say what follows ‘but’ then prefacing the sentence with an apology undermines what you’re hoping to communicate.
4. Get To The Point
Couching your idea around your own fears, doubts and insecurities instantly removes any weight the grand plan may hold. For example, “I don’t really know if it will work, but I was thinking I might start focusing on….” If someone has asked you for more information on your new business concept they genuinely want to hear from you. It’s much stronger to say, “I’m going to…” or “The concept is to…” The latter communicates your purpose more powerfully and shows the other person you believe in yourself and the idea 100%.
5. Be Yourself
When you speak from the heart and in your truth, instead of saying what you think people want to hear, your communication will instantly translate as confident. When you believe in yourself and the path you’ve chosen, the above sabotaging traits will diminish, and in turn you will trust in your power to make what matters to you happen.
I’d love to know in the comments below, do these communication traits resonate with you or do you find yourself reducing your power another way? Which tip could you work on this week?
*This blog post was inspired by an article titled “8 ways women undermine themselves with their words” by Tara Mohr.