Are you looking for a way to project more confidence?
Then start with your voice.
One key to looking more confident is sounding more confident.
Our voices can convey our lack of confidence. And even if we are confident, our verbal style can also send a message of low confidence.
According to Dustin York (5 keys to great nonverbal communication), 83% of our message is non verbal: body language, facial expression or tone.
Let's give our voices a confidence makeover.
For example, I worked with a very smart business analyst, Jennifer, whose inflection always went up? and then up? and up?
It was her style to present statements that sounded like questions as a way to link multiple points together. Not surprisingly, Jennfer was often frustrated that people challenged her analysis.
I also worked with a very strong manager, Penny, who occasionally gave a nervous laugh when she spoke.
Penny's voice normally projected authority when she presented facts or proven technologies. But when she presented new-to-the-world options or untested processes, she showed her uncertainty with an awkward pause and a quick laugh.
So, what can you do to give yourself a voice makeover? Fortunately, it's not as hard are you might think. You can make lots of progress in a couple of months with a few tips.
Here are 3 ways to give your voice a confidence makeover
Practice out loud.
Don't just practice WHAT you're going to say, speak out loud to practice HOW you'll present.
Don't skip over words or rehearse in your head. If you have a chance to go to the room where you'll present, practice there. If you're going to stand, then practice standing up.
If this is the first time you are going to deliver difficult news, or a controversial proposal, practice is imperative.
Use a buddy.
Many times you're unaware that you're telegraphing a lack of confidence. My first buddy was Elia Lopez. Elia didn't just help me practice; after every presentation, she gave me feedback. Elia immediately noticed I was clutching notes in my hand like a security blanket.
After 3 short months I was presenting without notes, and walking the room with confidence instead of hiding behind a podium that was nearly as tall as me.
Get the feedback right away and even in the room where you presented. You want your buddy to note the circumstances when you exihibit nervous traits so you can figure out why.
Is it because you are afraid there will be awkward silence? Or because you are afraid you'll forget key points?
Observe and take notes.
Even if you're not presenting, you can learn through simple observation.
Studies show you can change your behavior through observation because it raises your self awareness. Take notes on presentation styles you like, and even ones you don't, and start incorporating the feedback.
Ready to give it a try?
Whether you use "umm" too much, your voice trails off in uncertainty, or you rush when you're nervous, you can give your voice a makeover.
You'll be more confident, you'll feel more confident and your voice will match.
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