Whether you feel like you need to brush up on your presentation skills, public speaking or handling one-on-one meetings, learning how to speak confidently at work can really benefit your career.
It’s believed that a fear of speaking has 10% impairment on your wages and 15% on landing a promotion.
Granted, if you’re not a naturally extroverted person, speaking with confidence isn’t easy.
However, there are some ways you can brush up on your communication skills and ensure you come across as an experienced and professional individual.
Here are some top tips to help you speak confidently at work.
Establish your weaknesses
Before you can improve your communication skills and ability to speak confidently, you need to figure out where you’re going wrong.
Are you not confident in a certain area of the business? Do you find yourself speaking too fast or too slow? Or do you over gesticulate or slur your words?
There are many different reasons you might lack self-confidence in the speaking department.
The sooner you can identify the problem, the easier it will be to work on improving them.
For instance, if you make too many hand gestures, use props like a pen or pointer in presentations to keep them under control.
Remember, there’s always a way to solve the problem. Just think about where your weaknesses lie and find a way to stop it from happening.
Don’t be afraid to pause
“umming” and “ahhing” or linking every sentence with “like” is extremely frustrating to hear. It doesn’t make you sound professional or confident.
It might be quite hard to grasp at first, but try taking simple pauses between each sentence to hold the silence until you’re ready to speak again.
There’s nothing wrong with a brief moment of silence, it can give people an opportunity to digest the information you’re sharing and jump in and ask questions.
It’ll also help build tension too, leaving your audience hanging on your every word. It’s powerful stuff.
It’s simple but very effective.
In order to speak more confidently, you have to focus on your breathing. This is where the pauses come in handy.
Use this brief second to breathe. If you don’t, you’ll end up trying to cram too many words into a sentence and pausing in the middle of a sentence for air. It then sounds like you’re inserting a comma in a strange part.
You may even mumble sections and say things that don’t make sense.
Talking too quickly shows a lack of confidence and gives you less time to think through what you’re going to say.
If you’re reading from a piece of paper in a presentation or while public speaking at work, insert lines where you think you should breathe.
It’s these handy little pointers that’ll remind you to speak fluently and confidently.
Which leads me nicely onto my next point.
Practice makes perfect
Once you’ve established your weaknesses, you can start practising your breathing and speaking out loud at home.
Even if you’re just prepping for a quarterly review or want to improve your presence in an internal meeting, working on these techniques can help you overcome your weaknesses when it comes to the real thing.
Practice chatting to family members or to yourself in the mirror.
It’s also handy to talk to record any of these conversations, so you can listen back and pinpoint any mistakes.
You can pick up some handy tips on how to be more confident by reading
To speak more confidently at work, you need to think about the overall package as well. While practising, take the time to work on your visual presence as well.
Are you smiling enough? Is it genuine? Think positively as you speak and you’ll naturally smile.
Another area to think about is making eye-contact, standing up straight and avoiding making any sudden movements.
All of these parts will help make you speak and come across more confidently. You can read more about this in our previous blog: ‘3 Ways to Look More Confident’.
Take a confidence course
If you still feel like you need some help boosting your confidence and speaking abilities, take the time to sign-up for a course.
You can learn advanced techniques to help you say the right thing and keep your audience engaged throughout. Certain confidence courses can assist you with any anxiety issues you may have as well.
If you’re worried about doing these courses in large groups, there are some can be taught on a one-to-one basis.