Ever wished people would listen to you more? You know you have great ideas and opinions to share, but as soon as you start talking people stop listening. Or even worse, they talk over you.
This is extremely irritating and over time it puts you off of opening your mouth again. I mean, what’s the point if no-one ever listens, right?
Wrong! Don’t give up. Speaking with confidence is actually easier than you think.
Just apply the 6 following tips to ensure people start listening to you with full attention…
1. Try voice projection
When you speak and you’re not heard and someone asks you to repeat yourself it can feel awkward. Even more awkward is when you repeat yourself and they still can’t make out what you’re saying. To avoid this try using voice projection.
Simply imagine that the person you are talking to is twice as far away from you as they actually are.
As you can imagine this might take bit of practice to master so you don’t end up screaming at people. Maybe start practicing it with friends and family first until you’ve got it figured out.
2. Stop trying to sound smart
While you may be smart and you certainly don’t want to come across as stupid, be mindful of the words you use – too much technical talk and jargon that others don’t understand or can’t relate to will have them quickly switching off from you.
Using simple words and phrases that people can digest easily will keep their attention, and it won’t put you under pressure trying to use fancy words which can lead to pausing and stuttering.
3. Bounce forward from criticism
It can be tough to accept criticism – it’s often harsh and a blow to our ego. But if you can learn to not take it personally and use it to your advantage then you’ll be on your way to being a master speaker!
Firstly, show them that you understand their criticism by saying something like “So what you’re saying is (repeat their criticism here).”
Next is your chance to capitalize on the situation. By saying “I can see why you might think of it that way, but I probably haven’t explained my point clearly.” you now have a second chance to put your point across.
Then finally, you can make a graceful exit from the exchange of words by thanking them for the feedback.
4. Maintain a strong posture
Good posture works in two ways – it affects the way people perceive you, plus it changes the way you feel within yourself.
When we adopt a “high-power” pose, i.e. tall, chest out, shoulders relaxed, it can actually cause a spike in our testosterone levels. Compare this to adopting “low-power” poses i.e slouched, folded arms, lowered head etc. which can increase cortisol (the stress hormone) and we can see how important our posture really is.
Testosterone makes us feel powerful and dominant and this energy is perceived by others too. You will command their respect and attention more in this state.
5. Take a sip of water
Confidence is not only a mental game – our physical state directly affects how confident we feel. When talking, your throat is your main tool and if it starts to get dry your voice becomes less effective. So if you can prepare ahead, have a bottle of water with you so you can keep your throat well hydrated – you will find it much easier to speak clearly and confidently this way.
6. Use your hands
If you’re finding it hard to explain something tricky using words only, get your hands involved. They can be great tools for explaining things when words let us down and hand actions will also keep people captivated.
By using your hands you are appealing to your listeners other sensory perceptions by giving them a physical interpretation of what you’re saying.
So there you have it – hopefully these tips will help you to become more confident in situations where you need to speak. Just put them into practice and you might find it’s easier than you ever thought it could be!