Clear Speaking and Confidence
There are few things more empowering than saying what you think. That is, what you truly think. I’m not talking about hurting people, there has to be some tact and respect for people’s feelings. Still, imagine how simple life would be if you could tell your boss that her idea probably isn’t going to work or admitting to someone on a first date that you quite like them.
It’s an art we seem to have forgotten. We couch our communication in little add-ons like “I was just thinking..” or “maybe, if this isn’t too left field.” Even worse, we adopt the emoji. Fun, but pure laziness in many ways.
Language and Confidence
When I first decided to set out on this road to building confidence, language was the first thing I looked at. Whilst I consider myself quite erudite, my language on a confidence scale was pretty poor. I realised that I hid what I meant in woolly phrases to avoid confrontation. Everything had to sound nice, jolly even. If I was annoyed or fed up with someone I was still concerned about coming over as the nice girl and this showed in the language I used. This was true both in real day to day life and in my emails and online communications.
This had to be the first thing that changed. I made it a mission to drop the “I was just wondering..if…when you had time..you could possibly pay me.” Okay, so it wasn’t that bad but it certainly was pretty lame when I look back now. Instead I used straightforward language, “I am just checking to see when you’re going to be transferring the money.” Unambiguous and, if they didn’t respond, my spidey sense was allowed to go into overdrive and wonder why as there’s no mistaking the meaning here. No response means something’s up.
Using Clearer Language
Here are some ways you can work on becoming more clearer and saying what you think…
- Changing your language to communicate more clearly first means adding in breathing space. No rushing to reply to that text or email straight away. When you’re in conversation. Practise slowing down and pausing. Give yourself time to think and time to phrase what you’re going to say next
- Listening is just as important. It allows you to really understand who you are talking to and adjust what you want to say accordingly
- Don’t be afraid to rephrase yourself…”I haven’t seen you around much..hmmm…actually that’s not quite right, I did mean to say why does it feel like you have been dodging me all week?”
- Being brave and saying, “I don’t understand that, would you mind explaining it again,” in the middle of a conference call or conversation. No need to say I’m sorry, just ask for clarification. Often, someone else will be relieved that you’ve asked the question
- If you have to say something that you are nervous about, especially in a meeting, consider putting what you want to say in an email first, clearly and succinctly and offering it up for discussion at the meeting
- There’s no need to drop the niceties in an email but get to the point quickly, before people get bored
- Practise saying “I think”, “I believe”, “I want”, “I’d advise”. You could choose a phrase of the day and see how it feels to use it
- Drop emotions as much as possible. If you’re hurt try not to whine or sound upset as this is what people will hear, not the words
You also need to know what you are thinking. This means taking ten minutes to ponder what’s going on in the office on the journey home rather than switching off straight away. It means tuning into your gut instincts so you can recognise this new project isn’t making full use of your strengths.
Saying what you mean is a journey and not achieved in one swoop. The rewards however are more clarity for everyone, confidence for you and respect from other people. Plus, your emails will be shorter and easier to type!
Join us for more training on using clearer and confidence boosting language