How to Communicate With Confidence

by ianmckenzie on June 3, 2015

Listening well, speaking clearly and asking the right questions—these skills are vital to your success as a communicator.  The good news is that by using a few simple strategies, you can boost your own communication confidence.

The way to avoid ineffective communication patterns is to practice being authentic. This means explaining how you really feel and asking for what you really need.

When you communicate effectively, you’re direct and honest. Believe you have a right to feel what you feel and to ask for what you need. This will help you speak authentically. The following ideas can also help you communicate effectively:

  • Speak clearly and simply. Try to say what you mean. If you think you may have trouble saying something you need to say, write it out and practice.
  • Make sure your voice matches what you want to say. Does it sound like you’re joking when you want to be serious? Are you mumbling because you think it’s selfish to ask for what you need?
  • Be aware of your posture. It’s hard to speak clearly and authentically when you’re slouched over or slumped in a chair.
  • Stay in touch with your body. Is your stomach in knots? Is your heart racing? What do these signals tell you about how you’re feeling? Breathe and allow yourself to relax as much as you can.
  • Keep your goals in mind. They’ll help you stay in touch with what you need.
  • Speak for yourself by using the word “I.” Using the word “you” often means you’re focusing on the other person rather than yourself. The word “I” puts you in touch with your feelings. Instead of “You have no right to say that to me!” say “I get really hurt and angry when you say that to me!”

Respect yourself and others

When you communicate authentically, you respect yourself and the other person. You make sure that the other person hears your feelings and needs, but you also listen to that person’s feelings and needs too.

You show respect when you:

  • Choose the appropriate time and place to express your feelings and communicate your needs. For example, asking instructors in front of the class about a mark you feel is unfair puts them on the spot.
  • Express yourself as clearly as possible and listen carefully to others when they speak.
  • Take responsibility for your own feelings. Don’t put the other person down in order to express yourself.
  • Ask people how they feel about what you’ve shared with them and respond to their feelings.

Listen well

Our brain works a lot faster than our mouth. People at a rate of about 125 words per minute, but our brains turn out ideas at a much faster rate. Our thoughts race ahead while we listen, filling in the space between what the speaker is trying to say and our thoughts. This is why many people have trouble listening. It’s estimated we hear only 25 per cent of what’s said to us.

Here are some ideas to help you become a better listener:

  • Make eye contact
  • Don’t think of listening time as waiting for your turn to speak.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Listen for the feeling beneath what the speaker is saying.

When you communicate authentically, you bring your whole self—your thoughts, feelings and experiences—with you. You show others that you respect yourself and them too.

When you’re honest and direct, people pay attention. Your voice is heard.

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BLOG – LIVING ORDER: On becoming a project leader

by ianmckenzie on August 30, 2014

Earlier this year, the Consortium for Project Leadership at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, started a new blog. The “Living Order” blog focuses on sharing stories and lessons learned about the leadership role in project managementThe first story posted in spring 2014 explains how the early 20th-century concept of “living order” is relevant to today’s project leaders.

Besides the blog, the Consortium for Project Leadership has a more traditional website with additional details and background info which can be viewed here. CPL is co-led by Dr. Alex Laufer, author of the recent book, Mastering the Leadership Role in Project Management.

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12 Tips to Improve Your Stage Presence

August 22, 2014

I missed correctly crediting this article when I posted. This was written a few years ago by my friend Kim Garreffa and first posted here. When speaking in front of an audience, these tips will help you communicate more effectively on stage: Consciously lift your eyebrows. It will immediately brighten your face. Smile. A lot. […]

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Boost Your Success by Improving Your Speaking Skills

August 12, 2014

Success in public speaking can open a world of opportunity for you. It can broaden your horizons through personal development, influence, and advances in your profession. Public Speaking Influences Your Personal Development In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-worth ranks highest. Giving speeches helps us realize self-worth through the satisfaction experienced when a good speech is […]

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7 Leadership Tips From Leaders

August 5, 2014

What is a leader? A leader is a person who guides others toward a common goal, showing the way by example, creating an environment in which other team members feel actively involved in the entire process. A leader is not the boss of the team, but the person that is committed to carrying out the mission of […]

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8 Time-Saving Tips

July 31, 2014

Use the “standby” or “hibernate” feature on your PC instead of shutting it down when you step away for a short time. You’ll be able to resume your work much faster than from a cold start. Find urgent computer files faster by starting file names with numbers. That ensures that they will be at the top of your list of files. […]

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How to Manage the Rush Jobs

July 29, 2014

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and your boss calls from the road and says, “Drop everything, I need this report in an hour.” Fifteen minutes later another manager comes by looking for last-minute help with a PowerPointpresentation. Meanwhile, you’ve skipped lunch, a courier is waiting on a delivery from you and the intern is hovering, looking for approval […]

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How to be an Effective Employee

June 19, 2014

Sometimes being an effective employee is easy and sometimes it’s not —work responsibilities and circumstances vary, as do relationships with co-workers. One thing is certain: your attitude makes a big difference in how successful you are at work. A positive attitude is a requirement of all of the following tips for improving your chances of […]

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The R’s Of Employee Motivation

June 16, 2014

If you think your employee’s poor performance is costing you profit, instead of overhauling your employee roster, why not try motivating them to become better employees? Smart managers never overlook this fact: loyal, productive employees are one of your biggest assets. From corporate cubicles to the factory floor, the collective skills and efforts of people keep your operation […]

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How to Write a Eulogy

May 9, 2014

I attended a funeral some time ago for a woman who had lived a good, long life. There were two eulogies given, one by a long-time friend and the other from a family member. It was interesting to hear the similar themes that came out as they spoke of someone who had played an important part […]

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