Confidence is a character trait easily spotted in those
who have it. It can be seen in the way a person enters a room or by the way
they move. Strong posture, body language and communication all have the power
to demonstrate confidence. Why do some people have it while others only wish
While it may be easy to believe confident people were
born that way, it is a learned skill. Confidence requires self-reflection,
intentional awareness and ongoing practice before it becomes a permanent
behavior. It’s a necessary trait to master for influence and success. In fact, research
shows people prefer to follow those who
demonstrate confidence in a topic versus those who are actually topic experts.
Leaders recognize that strong communication skills are
key to exuding confidence and earning the ability to influence others to act
upon what they have to say. Dina
Krasikova, management professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, found
that maintaining confidence is key for leaders to be creative and successful.
To become a confident professional, use these five tips
to master five important confidence habits.
Communication Skills that Demonstrate Confidence
who demonstrate confidence know how to listen intently. They do not feel the
need to always speak, share their input or interrupt. Confidence is the
willingness to let others have a turn. Confident leaders recognize they do not
always have the answers and that mindful listening is necessary to learn.
- Avoid filler words
with confidence means avoiding filler words that make you sound uncertain or
confused, such as “like,” “um” and “uh.” It also means avoiding phrases that
cast doubt on what you have to say, such as “Honestly,” “I mean” and “Well…” Filler
words and phrases add no value to the conversation and create extra noise for
your listeners to decipher. Confident communicators are clear and succinct.
They get to the point quickly and without fuss.
- Slow down
People who lack confidence and show nervous energy
usually race through their words to make a point. Their fast rate of speech
makes it hard to understand and fails to influence listeners to act on what
they have to say. Confident speakers are sure of their words. They slow down
and speak at a comfortable rate, allowing listeners to tune into their words,
not their nervousness. Confident speakers also know the power of the pause.
Pausing in-between thoughts and topics provides time for
words to resonate with listeners and emphasizes a point before moving on.
Using your hands while communicating can help emphasize
your point. It provides energy to the words and compliments the importance of
your message. While hand gestures are a great way to exude confidence, there is
a right and wrong way to put them to use. For instance, too many gestures can
make you look erratic and nervous; too few can make you look tense and
uncomfortable. Mastering hand gestures will help your message resonate with
listeners and help you influence them to act.
Body language conveys a message to others before your
words ever do. Maintaining proper posture is key to exuding confidence. Stand
up straight with your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Avoid slouching
or leaning. Keep your head up and make eye contact with others. Ensure your
hands are resting comfortably at your side. Avoid folding them in front of you or
to Make Confident Communication Skills Permanent
your communication skills to demonstrate confidence, you must determine what is
working and what is not. One of the most effective ways to identify weaknesses
is to witness them directly. Videotape yourself giving presentations and
hosting business meetings. Then, immediately watch the playback to determine if
your communication methods are aligned with the way you were feeling at that
moment. We often think we are demonstrating confidence when we speak, only to
discover our body language, vocal tone and choice of words say otherwise.
thorough, honest feedback can help us become more aware of opportunities to
improve. Find someone you trust: a peer, colleague, mentor or friend, who will
honestly assess your communication skills and provide you with constructive
feedback. You can also request feedback after a presentation or meeting. Ask
others to give you specific feedback on how you did, what was clear and what
needs to be improved.
are easy to form and hard to break. People tend to fall back into old habits
when there is a lack of accountability and commitment to change. Find someone
you trust to help hold you accountable to the communication goals you set.
Establish ongoing goals that must be practiced, met and reported on in each
meeting. Commit to honor their time and attention by showing up prepared and
having done the work.
you’ve become aware of your weaknesses, you’ll easily spot them moving forward.
Mindfulness helps reveal opportunities to correct bad habits. Commit to daily
practice in all conversations – high stakes or casual chitchat. Practice
presentations in front of a recording device and watch the playback. Notice
what still needs work and what you’ve improved. Continue practicing until you
routinely display the positive attributes of a confident communicator. Practice
your communication skills requires ongoing work. The most confident leaders
recognize they are a continual work in progress. The only way to keep getting
better is to always repeat Steps 1 through 4. Harvard research professors Michael Norton
and Francesca Gino
found that rituals can make you feel more confident in the action. Continually
seek feedback and observe yourself in conversations. Maintain a commitment to
an accountability partner and practice your new skills at every opportunity.
you’re ready to exude confidence in your daily communication, then assess your
current habits, get feedback and practice daily. Soon these five habits will
become your new normal and people will believe you were born that way.