Speaking with confidence will improve every area of your life. The same confident tone that will make you more attractive to others will also earn you more respect and authority in the workplace. Below are a few tips on speaking with confidence that will help you develop the strong, powerful tone for projecting confidence in any situation.
The most common mistake we make that prevents us from speaking with confidence is speaking too quickly. When a guy speaks quickly it often gives the impression that he’s nervous, insecure, or lacks self-control. It’s crucial then to practice speaking at a slower, more relaxed pace. Speaking in a calm, deliberate manner shows confidence even dominance and gives the impression that you’re a person who is in control.
When to start speaking
We rush into speaking. During a conversation a person may start talking the same moment (or even moments before) the other person finishes speaking. Jumping in and talking immediately like this can make you look a little too eager –and even worse – the other person may feel as though she wasn’t being heard. A good practice then is to work on pausing for a second or two after a person speaks before you start talking. Taking your time like this shows you’re relaxed, confident, and are actually interested in what the other person is saying.
Eliminate filler words
Filler words (words as “umm”, “uhh””, “like…”, etc.) are used to take up space while a person tries to figure out what to say next. But using them just makes you look uncertain of what he’s saying. So if you want to sound more confident when speaking, eliminate these filler words completely. What should you put in their place? Nothing. If you need a moment to think of what to say next simply pause and hold that silence. Silent pauses are incredibly powerful as they build tension and suck people in. If you can hold those brief moments of silence without feeling the need to fill that silence with useless sounds, people will start to hang off your every word.
Don’t just be loud
We sometimes confuse speaking with confidence as speaking loudly. While speaking loud enough to be heard is important, what matters even more that volume is your pitch and cadence (cadence is basically the rhythm of your voice). To project confidence then, be sure to keep a low pitch and a smooth cadence when speaking (don’t bounce the pitch around, frequently going from high to low to high). Maintaining a low, steady tone of voice is a surefire way to sound more confident.
Speaking without tension
That low, dominant tone that makes you sound confident comes about naturally when you release the tension in your voice. The muscles in your shoulders, neck, jaw and throat all affect your voice tone so you want to relax those muscles when speaking. To get those muscles relaxed here’s an exercise you can try: Start by taking a slow, deep breath. As you exhale make a noise that’s half yawn/half sigh and soften any tension you feel in your jaw, throat, neck and shoulders. This exercise will help you become aware of the existing tension in your voice so that you’ll be able to relax that tension when speaking.
The importance of breathe
Taking slow, steady, deep breaths as you speak will ensure you have a slow, steady, deep voice. The key to obtaining this kind of breath is to make sure that you’re not just breathing into your chest but instead are breathing deep into your belly. You should be able to feel your lower rib cage expand out as you inhale and your belly should rise and fall as you breathe in and out. If this sounds like too much to remember there’s a very simply way to think of it. When you breathe in, imagine breathing that air deep into your balls. Visualizing your breath like this ensures you’ll take the deep, full breaths needed for speaking with confidence.
Adding authority to your speech
When people are uncertain of what they’re saying the pitch of their voice automatically goes up at the end of a sentences. You hear this all the time when people ask questions but it can happen when people give statements, too. If you want to add an extra touch of authority to your speech do the opposite and end your sentences by lowering your pitch. Even if you’re asking a question, this downward inflection is going to make you sound much more confident in what you’re asking.
A lot of the problems mentioned above – speaking too quickly, tightening your voice, breathing into the chest instead of the belly – come about when we lose presence. It’s when we get so wrapped up in what we should say next (or what people might think of us) that these bad habits take hold. To prevent this, stay aware of the sound of your voice when you speak. This will keep you grounded so those nasty habits won’t come creeping in unnoticed.
Practice improving your voice
For these tips to become a part of your natural way of speaking it’s important to practice them. An easy way to do this is to record your voice during a phone conversation with a friend. Listening to a recording of your voice will make you aware of some of the mistakes you’re making and areas you can improve upon. Do this on a regular basis (maybe once a week) and it will be much easier to cut out bad speaking habits and replace them with good ones.