Purpose: Use this job aid as a quick guide to more confident behavior when communicating. Confident behavior includes tips on how to use voice and body language.
Develop your personal image so that you are comfortable, appropriately dressed and projecting the image that you want or need to project. Simply put, when you look good you feel more confident. To do this, you need some measure of self-awareness– you need to be aware of how you look, what looks good on you and what the current trends are, then you can design the image you want to project.
Knowing what you want to say in advance helps you to feel prepared and competent. Consider where your message may be unclear. Ensure it is simple and includes arguments or examples to support your main points. Keep in mind who your audience is and why you want to convey this message.
Address fears and negative self-talk by consciously speaking to yourself as you would to a good friend. Another classic yet useful strategy is to imagine the worst possible outcome and prepare yourself for it. If you are prepared, you are even more likely to succeed.
How you use your voice affects how confident you sound to your audience. Areas to consider include the following:
Inflection – When your inflection or pitch goes down at the end of a sentence it shows certainty and is authoritative. When your inflection goes up at the end of a sentence it indicates a question or uncertainty.
Volume – A confident voice is audible but not overpowering. Speaking audibly engenders confidence in the speaker as well as conveying confidence to the listener.
Tone – Your tone of voice is used to indicate when you are joking, sarcastic, happy, serious, upset, angry, etc. When speaking, you need to ensure that your tone matches what you want to say. Typically, people find a lower tone more authoritative than higher-pitched tones.
Speed – Confident speech is typically fluid and slow enough to be easy for a listener to follow. However, the speech should not have lengthy hesitations.
Confident Body Language
Confident communication relies on several things:
Posture – If your posture is rigid and tense, you communicate insecurity or anxiety. If you slouch, you convey a lack of interest in your audience. Standing tall with your hands loosely by your sides shows that you are alert and relaxed.
Eye Contact – A steady gaze mixed with brief periods of looking away can be used to convey respect and interest in a person and enhances your message. When talking with a person who avoids eye contact, it may help to glance at the person to show that he or she has your attention, and then look away when eye contact is made to set the person at ease.
Gestures and Expressions – Your face and your gestures should say the same thing that your words do. Smiling and using open, relaxed and spontaneous gestures conveys a relaxed warmth and builds confidence. Smiles should not be forced or used in serious moments in a conversation.
By practicing these behaviors, you build confidence in yourself and convey confidence to others.