peaking with confidence does not always come easy. But it is an important skill to have, one that will come easier with time. Whether you’re just talking to a friend or a colleague at work, your confidence level will impact how others perceive you and how you express yourself. If you are in need of a confidence boost, look no further. Our handy guide will provide tips on how to communicate with confidence, in every possible environment.
In this guide, we’ll discuss:
- Factors that affect your confidence and communication skills
- Why having confidence is important
- How to build confidence in your communication skills
- Overcoming social anxiety
Factors that Affect your Confidence and Communication Skills
There are several factors that can affect how confident you are going into a conversation. Pinpointing what they are will help you know which factors need to be worked on to effectively improve your confidence and become a skilled communicator.
Self-esteem and confidence go hand in hand. When your self-esteem is low, so will your level of confidence. When socializing with others, you may not feel as adequate or knowledgeable as the people you are speaking to.
On the other hand, if your self-esteem is quite high, your confidence will be too. This is also an imbalance, as you may appear to be overly confident and less receptive to constructive criticism from your peers.
Having imposter syndrome can result from this. This is when you have experienced feelings of a false self-perception and it typically shows signs of self-doubt and setting unrealistically high standards for yourself.
The key is to strive for a balance of self-esteem and confidence, that way you are showing a more realistic image of yourself and still allow yourself space to grow.
Fear of feedback or criticism
A lot of the time, we wish to gain validation from those around us, which can give a boost to our confidence. But the fear of being harshly criticized or receiving poor feedback when you are talking hinders how optimistic you are. It creates self-doubt and diminishes your chances of truly expressing yourself.
Sometimes you may end up in a conversation that is beyond your knowledge or expertise, which can feel awkward and make you less self-assertive. This also leads to not wanting to enter into a conversation for the fear of feeling belittled in your intellect. When you work on expanding your knowledge and have more to say about the topic, you would feel more comfortable to put in your own opinions.
There’s a chance that you may have had a negative experience while communicating with someone. Instances of being embarrassed or heavily criticized can easily affect your confidence in speaking.
Vice versa, positive experiences of speaking can also make a difference on your confidence. Though we enjoy the positive experiences a lot more, both kinds of experiences are pivotal towards your growth as a communicator.
Fear of public speaking
Speaking to a large group of people is difficult for most. And picturing everyone in their underwear isn’t always a great way to make it any better. The best way to work on this fear is to practice and work on your confidence level to make yourself more comfortable in public speaking.
Why Having Confidence is Important
Having confidence in your communication is important for so many reasons.
Implementing confidence in your speaking skills will help others perceive you as more trustworthy. They will be able to see your true self while they hear your assertions, which will make them start to view you as reliable.
Builds influence and relationship
Confidence will also allow others to feel more influenced or persuaded by your ideas and opinions. It will let them know just how passionate you are about said ideas or opinions. Substantially, it will make you a better leader.
You will seem more open and approachable to others when you show confidence in your communication. This will help you build a positive rapport with others and establish a positive and collaborative environment.
Success in career
Being able to speak confidently will be extremely beneficial in your professional career. With confidence, you will be able to truly showcase your abilities and skills to others. It can improve your chances at securing a job or doing well in interviews or speeches.
Your overall well-being will grow as you become a confident speaker, as you feel better about your self-image and gain a greater sense of resilience in taking on your challenges in communicating.
How to Build Confidence in your Communication Skills
The first thing you have to do is to speak your confidence into existence. It may seem silly but intentionally reinforcing the idea of what you want will make it stay at the forefront of your mind. Believing in yourself is the first step into a positive outcome!
Practice and Preparation
Practice always makes perfect. Whether a conversation is going to be big or small, any amount of practice is helpful to improve your communication skills. Practicing can help you feel more confident with your discussion topics as well as improve your verbal delivery.
Whether it's standing in front of a mirror or recording yourself to review later, there are many ways to enhance your communication skills. Doing your research will help as well, including listening to a podcast or reading up on a particular subject. That way, you won’t feel as unprepared going into a conversation.
Positive Body Language
Using the right body language will help impact how others perceive you. Fidgeting or staring off into the distance will make you seem nervous or uninterested in the conversation.
Strive to maintain eye contact, nod your head along, and having a straight posture will convey that you are engaged in the conversation.
While speaking, use hand gestures to amplify your emphasis on what you're discussing. Your peers can then see how optimistic you are about it.
It’s easy to speak too fast or mumble out your words. But doing so can make you appear to be anxious and lack confidence. Focus on speaking at a steady pace and at a clear volume.
Your vocal tone is also important to focus on. When varying your tone, you can seem more ecstatic about a topic and keep your peers captivated. If you see someone start yawning, it may be your cue to switch up your tone!
Nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal. Actively listening will help boost your relationship with someone else so that you can respond more thoughtfully. When actively listening, your confidence will receive a boost while you engage in more meaningful conversations.
Positive body language will show that you are actively listening, which can make the other people feel more confident while they are talking.
Embrace the silence
Though silence can be seen as awkward at times, allow yourself to use those pauses to gather your thoughts and take a breather. Then you can continue further with the conversation with even more confidence.
Learn from your experience
We all say things we shouldn’t say. So, it’s ok to make mistakes. But when you reflect on the mistakes, it helps you identify the areas that need improvement. Reflect on the positive moments too, that way you know what to aim for in future conversations.
Open yourself up to constructive criticism from others. Look at it as a way to improve your communication and not something that is meant to put you down. Avoid being defensive or refute what criticism you receive. Definitely use those active listening skills! Appreciate the person’s effort to be honest when giving you feedback to further build trust in your relationship.
After gaining feedback and having several experiences in your back pocket, you will become a professional in no time!
Overcoming Social Anxiety
Socializing does not come easy for everyone, as social anxiety makes communicating for some people even harder. But there are some strategies you can use to lessen its impact on your day-to-day life.
Tips on lessening your anxiety
Breathing is connected with your nervous system, meaning that being able to control your breathing will help relax nervousness. There are several breathing exercises designed to help release anxiety, especially before you have to socialize.
Breathwork facilitator Shanila Shattar states that breath awareness “pings the body and says, ‘Let’s slow down and find a balance between what we’re feeling, thinking, and actually experiencing.’”
One of the most popular breathing methods is the 4-7-8 technique. It consists of:
- Counting to four as you take in a deep breath from the belly
- Holding that breath for seven counts
- Breathing out for eight counts as you release all the air out of your lungs
- Repeat this process as much as needed
Implementing meditation into your daily life can gradually calm the mind and create a sense of inner peace.
Speak with a friend
A friend can lend a hand in situations where you don’t feel comfortable. You can also practice what you want to say in a conversation or speak with them about any struggles you are having.
It helps to visualize how you wish a conversation to go, that way you can focus on potential challenges and work on what you want to say. In a way, it's bringing in self-affirmation when you continually visualize a positive experience.
Consider talking with a therapist
Getting professional help will provide the most guidance towards lessening your social anxiety. Therapists can tailor helpful strategies to your own needs. Support groups can also be an effective method, especially in building community with others that have similar experiences as you.
A little bit of exposure to social situations will gradually help you increase your comfortability and confidence in communicating as you face your fears step by step.
That’s it for our handy guide!
With all the given tips needed to boost your confidence in communicating with others, you can now go out and prepare for your next conversation. Do remember that it can be an ongoing process, but each step you make will be pivotal towards becoming a confident, effective communicator.