How to Speak More Confidently
For experts and novices alike, there is room for improvement in all walks of life. One key area where humans are always looking to improve is their verbal communication. Whether an individual has a fear of public speaking, social anxiety or is simply looking to brush up on their speaking skills, the following strategies and suggestions can help them become better, more confident speakers in day-to-day life.
A key part of becoming a better speaker is learning how to be a better active listener. Shalom Lamm recommends listening intently to what others have to say, because it helps the speaker respond with something well thought out and appropriate rather than simply blurting out the first idea that comes to mind. Active listening also allows a person to learn effective and ineffective verbal communication by example from others.
Another key to becoming a confident speaker is understanding and learning how to cater to different audiences. Audiences come from many different backgrounds and levels of knowledge, and there are different social rules depending on the social context or setting. For example, an important presentation or meeting should not be treated the same as a conversation with friends or coworkers at lunch. Shalom Lamm advises that understanding the background and knowledge base of the audience also helps speakers avoid sharing too much or too little information, and makes speakers more confident by pinpointing the appropriate message to deliver.
Confident speakers understand how to use their voice effectively. They vary the tone and inflection of their voice as they speak in order to keep listeners interested. Speakers can also gain more confidence by using appropriate posture and nonverbal communication to compliment the words they speak. Another way to become a more confident speaker is to model the way others are speaking within the same conversation by trying to match their tone.
Although there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from others, it’s important for a speaker to stay true to his or her self when delivering a message. Authenticity not only helps a speaker stand out as credible and relatable, but it also helps him or her gain confidence in who they are and what they know. As simple as it may seem, someone who sounds confident when they speak will be a more confident speaker. Making written or mental notes before speaking helps with nerves and allows a speaker to sound more confident.
In order to effectively implement these strategies and ultimately speak more confidently, individuals must be willing to practice and take constructive feedback. Practicing verbal communication can take place in both real life conversations and situations with others as well as practicing alone at home in front of a mirror. The more cognizant a person can be of the way they communicate verbally and nonverbally the less time they will have to spend practicing. Along with self evaluation, speakers should not be afraid to take criticism from their peers. Gaining different perspectives can highlight possible areas of improvement that are visible to the audience and might not be visible to the speaker.