The other day I was walking through Wal-Mart and a guy almost ran his cart into mine. He apologized very softly with his head down. Although I’m sure he wasn’t a bad guy, his response was typical of too many guys: speaking with a lack of confidence.
If you want to be popular and successful at anything, whether its work, social life, or even your relationship with your wife and kids, you’ll need to know how to communicate. Lack of communication skills cause significant issues in business and social relationships.
So, if you can’t communicate, you’ll pretty much fail in most environments. (For how to communicate in conflict type situations, please visit The Conflict Mechanic, a great site).
We’ve already discussed how you need to speak your mind. Well, you also need to speak with confidence. If you give your opinions while mumbling and with your head down, you’ll negate any social benefit from speaking your mind to begin with. Here are a few tips to speak with confidence.
Raise Your Voice
If you are naturally shy, then you may have a tendency to be soft-spoken and mumble. You may think you’re being heard, but the rest of the world disagrees. If you think this describes you, then ask family and friends if they have trouble hearing or understanding you. If so, raise your voice. You may think you’re being too loud, but in the eyes of other people you might be just right.
Always Be Convinced Of What You Say
If you’re going to say it, then do so like you’re actually convinced of the truth of it. The guy who mumbled to me at WalMart got his message across (barely). It’s not like he kept his thoughts to himself. He stated them, but just did so very poorly, almost as if he was hedging his bets or afraid. If it’s going to leave your mouth, then say it like you mean it.
One way to show conviction is to speak from your diaphragm. Insecure people speak from their voice-box, which causes a guy’s voice to be higher-pitched and waver. Find a private location and repeat the phrase, “I am speaking with more conviction at all times.” Situate your voice entirely at your voice-box at first and then gradually move down to your diaphragm area. You’ll notice as you move down, you will become more confident and speak with greater confidence.
So, from now on, when you say something, do so like you want to be heard and even deserve to be heard.
Keep Your Head Up
Body language is an important part of communication, and even more important than the words you use. Keep your head high, don’t slouch, and match your confident speech to your confident posture. Have the posture of a confident guy who is in charge. I guarantee you that if the Wal-Mart CEO had nearly run into me, he would clearly and articulately address me. It’s because he’s in charge and would want to show it.
Be “On” All the Time
If you are trying to speak with conviction, you have to practice, and that means being your confident self at all times. Even if you don’t always feel confident, act like you are. That means you have no problem speaking with confidence and poise. Believe in yourself and eventually it will become a natural habit.
Don’t ever allow yourself to get back into a shy mode of thinking when you’re in public. Follow the previous advice and make sure you never give yourself an excuse to return to old behavior. Most people who speak with conviction do so because they are confident. They really are convinced of their words!
So, whenever you speak to others, let them hear you loud and clear. It’s not even just about your voice. Have some conviction and let others know that you are popular, strong, and successful.