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The Complete Guide to Speaking Confidently

by A Hospidales
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Table of Contents

What You Can Gain By Learning to Speak Confidently

How You Lose Control with Your Words

Tips on Speaking with Confidence

How to Be A Better Communicator

Final Thoughts

What You Can Gain By Learning to Speak Confidently

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. With confidence, you have won even before you have started.”

Cicero

You might be under the impression that speaking confidently only matters to people who make speeches on a frequent basis. But, are you aware that the way you speak translates to your day-to-day confidence? The ability to speak confidently will help you build relationships, open up doors to success, and provide you with the confidence boost necessary to pursue your goals.

The way you speak matters. People’s reactions to you are determined by how much respect you receive, which can have an effect on how they treat you. Knowing how to communicate with authority and confidence doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the boss or have all the answers. In any case, it does convey the message that you expect to be treated fairly.

Read on to discover the advantages of being confident when you speak, how the way you speak can make you feel empowered (or give away your power to others), and what steps you can take to improve your skill as a confident speaker. We will also provide tips on cultivating great communication by improving your listening skills.

woman presenting to a small group of people

While it may seem like you are either born with confidence or not, confidence is a skill you can learn and acquire over time. Learning to speak with confidence not only tells others you believe in yourself, but over time, it starts to make you actually have those beliefs yourself. In short, speaking with confidence and make you surer of yourself.

What confidence really means is not that you expect that everything is going to be perfect. Real confidence is knowing that you can handle any outcome that comes your way. And when it comes to speaking, that means being able to address others with ease, to listen to the viewpoints and perspectives of others, and to project your ideas with authority and care.

Speaking confidently is not just about the words you use or the tone of your voice. It is also about how you stand, the way you move your body, your ability to connect with others in the room, and even your breath.

When you speak with confidence, the audience will feel at ease and believe what you are saying. When you project anxiousness or fear, you will have anxious and fearful listeners. The more awkward you feel and the more this comes across, the more awkward your listeners will feel for you, which means they are not really hearing what you have to say. Communication breaks down when your listeners do not believe in you or what you are saying.

The real benefit of speaking with confidence, though, is that it is one important way that you embrace and build upon your personal power. Your words, your tone, and your boundaries while communicatng with others are indicators of whether you are claiming and honoring your personal power.

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.

Marie Curie

Despite the appearance that confidence is something you are born with or not, the ability to become more confident is something that you can develop. Speaking confidently not only conveys that you have self-belief, but more importantly, it begins to instill those beliefs in you. To summarize, speaking confidently makes you actually feel more confident.

The true definition of confidence is not expecting everything to go perfectly. True confidence lies in knowing you are capable of dealing with whatever situation you are in. Similarly, in terms of speaking, it means you’re able to communicate comfortably. In addition, you’re able to hear the opinions and points of view of others, and to articulate your ideas clearly and effectively.

Being confident in your speech involves more than the words you use or how you sound. It’s also about your posture, your body language, how well you relate to other individuals in the room, and how you breathe.

By speaking confidently, you’ll put your audience at ease and inspire their trust. In contrast, if you convey anxious or fearful feelings, your listeners will be anxious and fearful as well. In general, the more awkward you feel and the more uncomfortable this comes across, the less comfortable it will feel to your listeners. This means they are not fully engaged with what you are saying. You cannot communicate effectively if your listeners doubt your credibility.

“Your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude.”

Michelle Obama

But perhaps the biggest benefit of speaking confidently, however, lies in the fact that it empowers you. Using your words, your tone, and the boundaries you set while communicating with others are signs you’re asserting your authority.

How You Lose Control with Your Words

The strength of your personality is rooted in your confidence, competence, and resilience, all of which you develop as you grow older. You decide how much control you have based on how you feel. There is a possibility that you give others the impression, when you speak, that you cede your authority. Words are powerful, and they have the power to either boost or diminish your confidence.

By using words that undermine your identity or your skills, you deprive yourself of personal power. By giving this away, you lower your respect for yourself. You are allowing others to think less of you, and in doing so, you lower your own self-esteem. A person’s words speak volumes about them. A little bit of care in choosing your words can enhance your confidence and let others recognize how strong you are.

Using words like “I’m just…” illustrates the way in which you surrender power through your speech. Whenever you begin a sentence with “I’m just…”, you are effectively warning the listener that they shouldn’t expect too much from you. With those two small words, you lessen your authority or influence considerably. You seem to need a reason to speak when you use the word “just.”. That is unnecessary. It does not help you in any way. In fact, it robs you of your power.

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”

Rosalynn Carter

Another pattern of speech that reveals you’re letting go of your power occurs when you apologize. In particular, women apologize for things they aren’t responsible for, and people often apologize even when they don’t mean to. The moment you apologize for something you’ve said, you’re signaling that your opinion is not worth listening to. You give up your authority at that moment. Don’t apologize for your beliefs, opinions, or ideas. It will make people respect you.

A person with low self-esteem often finds it extremely difficult to accept compliments and praise from others. The strength of your personal and professional abilities is diminished if you reject compliments. The moment you accomplish something wonderful, you are allowed to hear someone say it and to take those words to heart. Say “thank you” in response to compliments rather than ignoring them. You deserve it.

Tips on Speaking with Confidence

private discussion among a small group

You can improve your public speaking skills by doing a number of things to boost your confidence. This is true whether you’re speaking to a few people or in front of a large audience. Confidence is a skill you can learn just like any other. Practice often, learn from your mistakes, and know the right approaches and tricks.

Take it slow

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ”

M. Scott Peck

The most common mistake people make when faced with an uncomfortable situation is to speak too fast. The tendency is especially noticeable when a person is already feeling uneasy as a consequence of the situation. When you speak too quickly, you suggest that you’re anxious and unable to control yourself. Consider your conversational style at the dinner table with your friends. As you address a large or unfamiliar group, you will find that they will feel more comfortable if you maintain this pace. By doing so, they will feel as though you are engaging them, not simply bombarding them with words.

Communicate slowly in everyday situations and when you practice. Speak with a relaxed tone. The more you are aware of how quickly you are talking, the more you will be able to spot when it is going too fast and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, speaking slowly gives you a chance to reflect on what you are saying, which gives others a sense of confidence.

Pause Before Speaking

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.”

Rosalynn Carter

One mistake that often happens in a conversation is that people rush to speak right after their conversation partners finish talking. As you speak in this way, it is clear that you are just waiting for an opportunity to express yourself. In other words, you are not interested in what the other person is saying. As soon as you speak, it appears that you are rushing and your listener might wonder whether or not they were heard.

After the other person has finished talking, take a moment (or three) to consider your response. When you are slow and deliberate, you seem more confident and relaxed, giving what you say a more authoritative tone. Additionally, a conversation does not become a contest to see who can finish as fast as possible. You will find that people will follow your lead by taking their time.

Cut Down on Verbal Pauses

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”

The Dalai Lama

It’s something we all do. We use certain words when we need to fill a void in our speech. Words like “um” and “like” pepper your sentences, and you might not realize how often you use them. However, if you rely on them too heavily, you will seem insecure.

Record your voice while talking to someone or while making a presentation at the office. During the recording, pay attention and note how often you use them.

Having identified your issue, you can work on eliminating these words altogether. Slow down and pause when one starts to creep in. There’s more sense in saying nothing than using words that have no meaning. By pausing more frequently, people can keep up with you and anticipate how you will respond.

Learn How to Speak With Authority

“Confidence is the most beautiful thing you can possess.”

Sabrina Carpenter

In a conversation, the pitch of your voice should not rise when you finish a sentence if you’re not seeking clarification. A simple way to lose your authority and sound indecisive is to sound uncertain when speaking. When you raise your pitch, it indicates a lack of clarity, making you appear less confident.

Practice reversing this inflection. Whenever you finish a sentence, bring the pitch of your voice down a bit. Is this okay? How does it affect your message? No matter what you say, this downward inflection makes you sound confident. Give it a try. You’ll be surprised at the results. 

Make Your Pauses More Effective

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect…Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.”

Mark Victor Hansen

Using deliberate pauses can impart authority and confidence to your message. Pauses placed strategically in your speech enhance your message. They also vary your delivery style, making it more engaging for the audience. If your sentences are shorter, add a pause midway through. If you have a long sentence, divide it into thirds.

Pausing is a very effective way to get your audience’s attention, and to emphasize what you are trying to say. You can also demonstrate confidence by pausing strategically.

Focus on Your Breath

“Have confidence that if you have done a little thing well, you can do a bigger thing well too.”

David Storey

You breathe slowly and steadily. When you want to sound confident, slow and steady is the way to go. If you focus on your breathing, rather than trying to say everything at once and quickly inhaling to keep up, then your pace will be relaxed. You will sound confident.

Practice taking deep breaths rather than just taking breaths at the top of your lungs. Exhale deeply like this and you should feel your ribs expanding. Inhaling and exhaling this way is more difficult. However, it fits with the way you would want to breathe and speak. It helps you project more confidence to others when you speak by taking short breaths.

Confidence Does Not Mean Loud

“When you have a lot of confidence and you feel like nobody can beat you, it’s game over for everyone else.”

Jason Day

The act of talking loudly can often be mistaken for an indication of confidence. In fact, you are only showing disrespect for your listeners by doing so. The importance of being heard cannot be overemphasized, particularly in a large gathering. The pitch of your voice, however, is more significant than the volume of your voice.

When people talk loudly, they often sound like they’re screaming, which makes listening to them uncomfortable. It is better to adopt a smooth cadence and steady rhythm, as well as maintaining a steady pitch. In this way, you will appear confident.

If you choose to record yourself, you can evaluate your performance. Play back what you say. Is your pitch fluctuating a lot? Are you having a hard time keeping your rhythm? You can improve your speech by practicing how you want to speak as well as what it is you wish to convey.

Water Plays an Important Role

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have a long day of smaller conversations ahead of you or if you will be speaking to a large group, staying hydrated is highly recommended. Vocal cords that are not adequately hydrated can easily become irritated, causing you to lose confidence.

Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and keep a glass of water with you when you speak so that your voice sounds better and you feel more confident.

Take Time to Relax Your Body

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Whenever you become tense, your jaw, neck, shoulders, and throat muscles tighten. They also affect the tone of your voice. If you want to sound confident, you need to relax these muscles.

Breathe deeply. Exhale through a slight opening in your mouth, then relax your jaw and exhale as if you were yawning or sighing. Stretch your neck, swing your arms, and let your jaw drop to relieve tension. During your speech, if you feel your muscles tighten up again, do your best to release the stress and stay relaxed.

Smile

“Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered—just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.”

Barrie Davenport

You should smile when you see a sea of frowns or (more likely) blank faces when you are talking to others. This will quickly cause people to start smiling back at you. Moreover, when you smile, you demonstrate confidence in what you say and appear more friendly and composed.

Additionally, smiling makes your voice sound better and makes your pitch and rhythm more consistent. You can test this theory by speaking into a mirror.

Avoid Qualifying Phrases

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

Norman Vincent Peale

There are a lot of words and phrases in modern speech that don’t add anything to the discussion, but are widespread. In many cases, these phrases are also indicators that you are unconfident about what you are supposed to say.

Among these are, “I’m sorry,” “Well,” “I mean,” and “This is just my opinion.” All of these expressions are meant to apologise for what is supposed to come next, in which case, there is no reason to listen. These tendencies are common among people who are concerned about how other people will react to their ideas.

In contrast, if you express yourself clearly without these explanatory words, you convey authority and confidence. There’s no need to say it’s your opinion. Everyone in the discussion is expressing their opinions. Put an end to unnecessary, meaningless words that diminish your self-confidence by presenting your viewpoints with authority.

Appreciate others

“Successful people often exude confidence—it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first.”

Travis Bradberry

Whether you are speaking in front of a group or conversing with someone, acknowledge their involvement, ideas, and contributions. By doing this, your confidence will be conveyed from the outset. An effective way to start a presentation is to acknowledge those who attended.

Being open to new ideas shows you are open to others’ insights. Being thankful for the assistance you received to prepare or advance shows confidence. Be confident in sharing what you have learned with others.

Use Silence

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

Your audience needs time to digest and reflect on what you said. Silence will allow you to do that, as well as demonstrate your confidence. Being able to tolerate silence, and refraining from speaking too much, is a sign of true confidence. Whenever possible, use silence as a means of making your point or giving your listener time to reflect.

Straighten Your Back

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

Coco Chanel

Your posture affects both the way you speak and the way you sound, just as smiling does. It is important to show others how confident you feel by how you carry yourself. Whether you are feeling confident or not, you will feel more at ease if you keep your head up high.

Proper posture is crucial to delivering a confident speech. By standing tall, your breathing will be more deep, allowing you to project and keep track of your pace.

Make sure that your feet are planted firmly with hip distance between them. Put an equal amount of weight on each hip.

Avoid pacing, swaying, or tapping your feet while you speak. These behaviors draw attention away from your point and indicate inexperience.

Raise your chest to show your torso and chest. Lie back and relax your shoulders. Looking in the mirror, hold your head high. Superman’s stance reminds us of this pose. Your listeners want to feel the power and confidence you project to them as well.

Practice Eye Contact

“Confidence is directness and courage in meeting the facts of life.”

John Dewey

Focus on keeping your eyes focused on one person at a time when talking with a larger group. Spend a minimum of six seconds observing one person at a time. Move your gaze to someone in a completely different part of the room after gazing in the same spot for a short period of time. Lingering eye contact conveys confidence to your listeners as well as making them feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Never peer over the heads of other people or scan the room. Avoid staring at the same person repeatedly, as doing so could make them uncomfortable. While it has been said that looking towards the back of the room will reduce your nervousness, your audience is likely to quickly lose interest in you if you do this.

Speak to others, not at them. If you make eye contact with someone, they are likely to smile back, which can boost your confidence.

Get Your Hands Moving

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”

Michael Jordan

It is equally as crucial to watch your body language as to what you say. Your audience can feel your enthusiasm and confidence by using a variety of gestures. It is important that your gestures serve a specific purpose and be related to your speech rather than being a distraction or a nervous habit.

Add to your message by using your hands. If you are unsure of what to do, practice in front of a mirror.

Keep Your Perspective

“Always be yourself–express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

Bruce Lee

We can get sucked into the present moment when speaking. Because you’re so focused on what you’re going to say next, you forget to slow down, relax, or breathe. The only way to remain grounded is to sound more confident in your speech and stay focused on the here and now.

Pay attention to each word you say, and believe that you mean it, in order to prevent old habits from coming back.

Practice, Practice, Practice

“Confidence is when you believe in yourself and your abilities; arrogance is when you think you are better than others and act accordingly.”

Stewart Stafford

It is only through practice that you will be able to sound more confident and improve your speech. As you practice, you will become less nervous about applying your new skills.

Practice makes it easier to figure out ahead of time what to say, which means less time is spent thinking about it right then. When you need to speak to a large group, practice using a microphone or podium, whichever is appropriate for your event. Having comfortable hand placements and posture will help you feel confident.

Become familiar with your pitch, pacing, and pauses by recording yourself. Practice will help you improve the most, so take advantage of all the opportunities you have to boost your speaking confidence.

A Guide to Better Communication

man communicating

Communicating isn’t just about speaking. When it comes to showing your confidence in every aspect of your communication with others, there are a number of other things that will enhance how well you are paying attention to your audience. Here are five tips to help you improve your communication skills and increase your confidence when interacting with others.

#1. Listen carefully before responding to what others say. Communication is about giving and taking, not just presenting your ideas. As a result, you may have to pause and reflect before speaking in order to be willing to consider new information.

#2. Refrain from walking away from confrontations or disagreements. It is important to learn how to deal with disagreements or come to compromises. Good communication requires this skill. Likewise, when you listen carefully and respond thoughtfully to others, you demonstrate respect for their opinions as well as confidence in your abilities. Don’t back down from challenges, but keep a positive attitude and a respectful tone throughout the conversation.

#3. Don’t miss a thing. It is important to pay attention to both the verbal and nonverbal signals of the other person. When they say they agree, but how they express themselves or how they sound is different, explore further. Just accepting the answer is not enough.

#4. Make sure you have a two-way conversation. Encourage participation, especially from anyone who has not taken part previously. Ensure that everyone has a chance to share their ideas and concerns.

#5. When addressing someone, you need to make eye contact to convey your confidence. By looking at the other person, you demonstrate to them that you are listening, that you value their viewpoint, and that you are interested in talking with them.

Final Thoughts

“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”

Anna Freud

The ability to speak confidently will help you establish meaningful relationships with others, achieve career goals, achieve key life objectives, and be able to communicate your ideas. Furthermore, it can help you regain the confidence that you lost when you stopped believing in yourself and putting yourself first.

Speaking with confidence is a skill that can be mastered with practice and effort. Effective communication involves many factors, such as the pitch, tone, and rhythm of your voice, as well as nonverbal cues including your body language and facial expressions. Understanding how to use silence and pauses will allow you to communicate with greater confidence.

In order to speak with more confidence, you must believe in what you are saying and communicate a message that matters to you. In order to interact confidently with others, you must be consistent with your values and beliefs.

Mastering these skills will have you convincing all your listeners that you are confident in no time.

Stay confident and take care!

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