Boost Speaking Confidence with a Daily Practice: 4 Ways to Speak with Sway
Most communication coaches and consultants focus on improving public speaking and leadership skills. They may help you prepare for your next big event presentation or lead your team with confidence in meetings.
But here’s the problem... You get so consumed with what you say and how you say it that you forget who it’s for.
And let me be clear, public speaking is a very valuable skill. And giving a speech in front of an audience can be very powerful for your brand and business. BUT…
…having this approach sets you up for a BIG miss. When I taught college-level public speaking courses, I witnessed it. And when I was a paid event speaker, it was evident again. Even when I facilitated communication-focused trainings I noticed it.
The biggest challenge to communicating with confidence is when we get so focused on the big event (i.e. stage event or meeting) – we lose sight that it’s really all about the audience (of one, or many.) It’s not so much about the presentation, but your presence. It’s about daily interactions with an audience of one as much as it is about speaking to an audience of many.
Let me give you an example. I once attended an event with a panel of speakers. Right away I could tell that none of them were afraid to grab the mic and speak. They appeared comfortable speaking about each of their respective areas of expertise. However, none of the speakers worked to build connection, foster communityor inspire creativity amongst the audience. Bottom line: they weren’t influential. None in the audience took action afterwards. In fact, the panel didn’t ask us to.
This is why I (as a Communication Coach-sultant) I help clients improve their level of influence. Your message doesn’t matter much if no one does anything with it after you speak.
You become influential to the audience when you are not only courageous enough to speak, but when you are creative enough to ASK. And when you speak with a facilitator’s mindset. Believe it or not, it’s not just about what you say or how you say it… it’s about who you are for the audience.
In my experiential program, UpLevel Your Influence, I help clients practice increase their ability and power to influence. To get others on board with your vision and direction, we need to recognize that as the “speaker” we are just the vehicle for the message. It’s all about coming from an empowered place and facilitating an experience for others, based on your brand and business.
So, in your daily one-on-one conversations here are a few tips you can use right now to create more influence as a brand and as a leader:
- Ask Questions For Permission – Never underestimate the need for permission. You get buy-in and commitment by doing so. As one of the "Universal Truths" of Verbal Judo states: “All people want to be asked rather than being told to do something.” Give them the option to say yes. It’s an innate human need to want to have autonomy and choice over our decisions. Doing so helps people decide with commitment instead of apathy. Asking open-ended questions is a powerful tool to create influence. It makes people think. They have to check in with themselves and that feels good. If you are facilitating that, you are upping your influence. This applies to an audience of one or many.
- Listen Deeply to Build Trust – Create connection with those around you by truly listening when they talk. This means suspending all those thoughts and to-do’s in your own mind and being open to their ideas. Being surrounded by distractions can make it difficult to really listen too, so you must practice getting quiet to flex your listening muscles. As Paul Zak points out in Trust Factor, successful leadership means creating a culture of trust. And to earn trust, we must listen deeply. This applies to an audience of one or many.
- Confirm Understanding with Paraphrasing – Developmental psychology teaches us that 70% of the time we are in a state of “mismatch” or misunderstanding with others in communication! We must stop assuming that our listeners understand our meaning. Share definitions, even with common words. Ask follow-up questions. Increase your odds at achieving understanding by reiterating what you heard in your own words or ask them to reiterate in their own words. This applies to an audience of one or many.
- Share a Story of You – As much as we may pride ourselves on logic, the truth is we make decisions on emotions. In his iconic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says to win people over to your way of thinking, you must “dramatize your ideas.” Crafting stories that define who you are, including your brand, your values, and your leadership style will help you become a person of influence. This applies to an audience of one or many.
As a brand and as a business owner, shift your mindset to your audience (of one or many)… think of your message as something your audience truly needs to be successful. The “what” of the message is very important, so you must prioritize “who” that message is for, so it resonates with them and they take action. Doing so makes you influential. Ready to up your level of influence? Sign up here: https://www.uplevelc.com/program