Last month we had Laura Elizabeth C., Member of Toastmasters International and Accredited Competent Communicator and Leader join the Concirrus team to share some of her secret strategies for confident communication. As we continue to work from home how we communicate and interact with colleagues and clients is more important than ever before. How we present ourselves and build relationships is vital to success and although communicating virtually can present certain challenges below are some useful strategies to help boost and improve confidence.
Confidence is all about knowing what you’re good at, the value you provide and acting in a way that conveys that to those around you. Whether you’re presenting or talking to client’s confident communication is key to success. A lack of confidence can hold up career progression. If you are not consistently putting yourself forward in the way you know you can, it can become frustrating and costly for your career. Laura, who started her career as a programmer was one of only four female students in her Computer Science Degree course shared with the team during her FedTalk (FedTalks – like TED talks, with a tasty twist. It’s a chance to get for us to get together, develop our skills, and share knowledge amongst the team) how confidence has always been vital for her.
“I realised while working as a programmer that I didn’t just need to be efficient and confident in the field that I was working in, I needed to communicate and influence the people I was working with, whether that were clients or colleagues at any level. Achieving a good level of confidence is equally as important as are competencies in a job.” - Laura Elizabeth C.
A Prezi study found that 70 percent of people said communication skills are critical to career progression. So, when you communicate confidently you are more likely to achieve success.
- Confidence allows you to speak concisely and with clarity allowing professionals to communicate what they want to their clients and co-workers clearly and efficiently.
- As humans, we are naturally drawn to confident people and pay attention to what they have to say.
- Confidence can help give you more authority and credibility in the interactions that you have.
- Confidence can open doors whether at work or in our personal lives.
- Most importantly confidence enables us to take action.
What you might not know is that you can easily and quickly make changes to how you communicate in every situation even when you are feeling challenged, nervous, or under pressure.
Laura’s top tips to boost confident communication!
If you are nervous before a big meeting or presentation you may feel yourself becoming anxious or tense causing shortness of breath. Getting into the habit of belly breathing 'Breathing with the help of your diaphragm, rather than with just the upper part of your lungs.' If you do this before and after the situation, you are nervous about your body will become more relaxed and you will be able to communicate more effectively. If nothing else check your breath.
Only a small proportion of what we say is what we communicate. Research shows that the vast majority of what we convey through our interactions with others is through nonverbal communication. This is why our body language and tone of voice is one of the key parts of confident communication
- Try physically warming up before a big meeting or presentation to help get rid of the tension in your body so you can express yourself confidently. This can help avoid pacing or other physical ticks.
- To appear more confident, improve your posture by visualising a thread attached to your head that is pulling you upright. This will help you stand straighter and therefore you will look confident.
- If you’re communicating online, we tend to slump and lean into the camera. Why not try standing up while presenting and look directly into the camera. The luxury of working from home is that no one will know the difference!
What you say to yourself
The internal dialogue that we hold about ourselves can affect our confidence levels. “Our brains have a negativity bias - that means that our attention and memory are automatically focused on negative things much more often than positive ones.” If you go into a situation with the attitude of “I’m going to mess up” it will be more likely this is the case. By practising positive self-affirmations and setting confident intentions for yourself can help trigger positive feelings toward yourself.
Different visualisation techniques are a great way to help you focus and move forward with real confidence. One example is the ‘movies playing in your head’ example below.
- Start to visualise a situation that is coming up in the future where you feel anxious and want to be more confident in. E.g., you are presenting at an important event at work.
- Give yourself a rating between 1 and 10 of how confident you are about this event.
- Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting in a cinema and you are watching a movie of yourself playout on the screen in that situation you are nervous about.
- As you watch yourself you can see how confident and successful you are. Begin to notice every detail, the expression on your face, your body language, how you’re breathing, and your internal dialogue.
- Next, visualise yourself floating out of your seat into the screen and look through your own eyes.
- Look at where the confidence is within your body and give it a colour. Begin to watch the colour go from the top of your head to the end of your toes.
- When you’re at the peak of your confidence squeeze your hands and float back into the present moment.
- Lastly, note down a rating between 1-10 how confident are you feeling about that situation now.
- Practice your confidence habits every day.
- Notice how different you feel in those situations.
- Note down your confidence rating.
When you start creating a habit of incorporating these components into the interactions that you have you will notice a change in your confidence levels. Try these techniques and let us know how your confidence improves.
Get in touch with Laura and learn more about Laura’s ‘Fast-Track Strategies For Success, Authority & Taking Opportunities’ here.