Somewhere between being polite and getting walked on by bossy friends or co-workers is a comfortable place to make your voice heard.
Whether you are gunning for a promotion at work, interjecting creative insight for a presentation, or simply wanting Chinese food instead of Mexican when deciding where to go for dinner, communicating confidently is a skill worth learning.
We all have opinions. We all want to feel like we’re being heard, but we often get in our own way and – often incorrectly – assume other people want us to act in a certain way. So how do we effectively get our voices heard without feeling like we’re being judged? Shared below are a few tips to build your confidence and say what you need to say.
Here Are 6 Ways to Find Your Voice and Communicate Confidently.
1. Body Language
Your body language makes a surprising difference in how you communicate and how others communicate with you. The non-verbal cues you give off when you stand tall, uncross your arms and hold your head high exude confidence before you even say a word.
Walk with confident steps instead of a casual shuffle. And when you speak, make eye contact.
2. Use A Strong, Kind Voice
With your non-verbal communication in place, it’s time to work on your verbal communication. Speak with a strong voice. Be confident in what you have to say. If this is difficult for you, practice every time you speak. Confidently ask where the restroom is next time you are in a restaurant. Ask your in-laws to pass the butter at the dinner table. Ask the checkout clerk at the grocery store how their weekend was. That way, when it comes time to assert an opinion in a more difficult setting, you’ll be prepared.
3. Wait Out the Loud Talkers
The more aggressive personalities are often louder, stronger, and more forceful. But that doesn’t mean they are more right. It also does not mean that they won’t listen. Often the best way to communicate with loud talkers is to let them finish their thought before you speak. The same goes for upset or irrational communicators. Letting someone get their feelings, thoughts, and frustrations off their chest without interruption often leaves them more open for a two-way conversation.
4. Protect Your Time
If you have a difficult time giving your opinion in a group, you may also find yourself doing things and going places you aren’t necessarily excited about. It’s up to you to protect your time. It’s perfectly okay to say no to a group if they decide to do something that isn’t worth your time or money. Protecting your time, your budget, and your priorities goes hand in hand with confidently giving your opinion.
5. Know What You Want to Say
Once you know what you want out of life, who you want to spend your time with, and what your priorities are, it becomes easier to give your opinions freely. Your first step may be to do a bit of self-discovery and get comfortable with who you are and where you want to go in this life.
That level of self-confidence is a big asset when determining what you want to say because you genuinely know why you want to say it.
6. Know Your Audience
All the self-confidence aside for a moment, there is a time and a place for asserting your opinion. Know who you are talking to and how to handle a situation. For example, talking to your boss about a problem with a co-worker, or asking for a raise should be a more structured conversation than deciding where to go for lunch with your friends. Know your audience and plan your communication appropriately.
You only have one life and you are an intelligent, strong member of this society. You have ideas worth hearing and plans worth pursuing. It’s up to you to pave your path and confidently take on the world in front of you.
Learning to find your voice and communicate confidently is a useful skill to have.
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*Originally published on June 1, 2019.
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