If confidence could be bottled, it would be a worldwide phenomenon. We all yearn to have confidence like the people we see every day who make it look so easy. The good news is that being confident is a skill that anyone can learn with some effort.
As all the greatest performers and speakers understand, confidence is as much about what you look like as it is about how you feel. So where should you begin building your self-assuredness with one of the most essential tools in your arsenal: your voice?
According to psychologist and author Larina Kase, true confidence does not derive from thinking you will succeed, but from knowing that you can cope with any outcome. Read on to learn the 10 secrets of sounding confident. Utilize these tips from experts to ensure success the next time you have to speak in public.
The secret to doing anything well is to practice it frequently, and speech isn’t any different. When you’re nervous about a difficult discussion, such as asking your boss for a raise or addressing an audience, prepare what you’ll say ahead of time. According to public speaking expert Dale Carnegie, using a real or stand-in microphone will help you get used to the idea of using one during the actual event. You can also use voice recording to see if you’re using the correct pace and pauses. It also lets you to examine your voice for clarity and volume.
Don’t Articulate a Statement as a Question.
We tend to ask questions when we’re either seeking more information or trying to get validation for an idea or decision. However, if you’re not careful, both of those situations might make you seem weaker. If you wish to exude confidence while sharing your ideas, ensure that your voice doesn’t creep upward at the end of every sentence. Keep an even tone throughout each statement and finish with periods instead of question marks.
Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED, believes that 190 words per minute is the perfect rate for public speaking. At this speed, your audience will feel as though you’re having a conversation with them instead of feeling like you’re lecturing to them. If you speak too slowly, you risk putting your audience to sleep. If you talk too rapidly, on the other hand, you might come across as amateurish or anxious, attempting to get the subject over with as quickly as possible. That is why a minimum of 190 words per minute should be your goal.
Use Your Hands.
It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Your body language is essential to conveying your message effectively. According to Carol Kinsey Gorman, Ph.D., an executive coach and consultant in nonverbal communication, audiences are more likely to see speakers as positive when they use a diverse array of gestures. Some physical movements, like adjusting your clothes or playing with your hair can make you seem nervous and unconfident. But using hand gestures when you talk is a great way to show how knowledgeable and enthusiastic you are about the topic.
Get Rid of Any and All Caveats and Filler Words.
Do you ever begin your sentences with such phrases as “This is just my opinion,” “Sorry,” “I’m still working on it,” “Well,” or any of a variety of other negative or useless prefaces? The majority of individuals do it out of habit or anxiety, but caveats and fillers may take away from the confident tone you’re going for. Instead, say exactly what you want to say, with no embellishment. “We should take this pitch in a different direction,” for example, is much more effective than “Well, I believe we should take this proposal in a new direction, but I’m still investigating the best path to take.”
Singers have particular pre-performance drinks to relax and prepare their vocal chords. While you won’t have to hit any octaves during your next conference call, speakers will benefit from being hydrated just as much. According to studies, drinking water has beneficial effects on vocal cords; it keeps them hydrated and improves the sound of your voice. The easiest approach to stay hydrated is to be ahead of the curve—by the time you feel thirsty, it’s already too late. For optimum outcomes, drink water on a regular basis throughout the day.
“When a leader shows gratitude, it has an uplifting effect on the team,” according to Dr. Ramiro Zuniga. “All is well and progressing in the right direction when a leader expresses thanks.” As a result, expressing appreciation for coworkers and direct reports efforts and accomplishments is another approach to say that the business is flourishing and on track to achieve even greater success in the future. Start the conversation with a little thanks, perhaps a “Thanks for coming,” and you’ll convey confidence from the get-go.
Insert Smiles Into Your Speech.
The next time you’re getting ready to give a speech, try this: smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at George Washington University, says that smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to, it also conveys confidence. You will seem approachable, friendly, and composed. That’s plenty of incentive to smile when you give a crucial speech.
Use Silence to Your Advantage.
What is your number one public speaking fear? For many individuals, the dread of silence is overwhelming. They are concerned about losing their train of thought or forgetting an important idea in the middle of a sentence. Speakers who try to engage their listeners with questions are concerned that no one will respond. But silence isn’t your adversary; instead, it may be an excellent confidence-projecting instrument. Gary Genard, a professional speaker and speech coach, explains that audiences need strategic silences in order to remember and comprehend vital information. Furthermore, the ability to live with your own or the audience’s silence makes you appear more confident.
Maintain Good Posture.
If you want to sound confident, hold your head high and roll your shoulders back. This physical change will improve the quality of your voice. Well-maintained posture can help you breathe deeper into your belly and project your voice clearly throughout the room, giving you more power. So sit or stand up straight and take a deep breath to maximize the strength of your voice.