Marsha Egan’s top tips will enable you to communicate with confidence
Many of my clients have struggled with feeling nervous and insecure about having conversations with their bosses or people who they feel the need to impress. Not to worry, these feelings are natural.
Here are some tips that can help you communicate your position more confidently, and with success.
Mindset before Action
Before a word comes out of your mouth, your brain needs to be in the right place. This will set up the communication for the best possible results.
Lack of confidence can derail any great recommendation. Just think, if you are not sure of your position, if you’re feeling the need to impress, if your thoughts are disorganized – you’ve already jeopardized the success of your communication.
Instead, make time to get your head in position to offer the insight that you want to share. Do this before you engage.
1. Decide your convictions.
Before you speak, be clear with yourself on what your opinion is. When you know what your position is, it is easier and more effective to communicate it.
2. They were you once.
This is an interesting concept, because every person you speak with has been in a situation like yours. In other words, they felt insecure once or twice, or more than that. When you realize this, it might soften your stress about having that communication.
3. State the conclusion first.
State the most important point, recommendation, agreement or disagreement in your first statement. Using too much time to build up to the conclusion can derail a recommendation. Start with the end first. As an example, “I recommend we adopt the xxx proposal. Here’s why…”; “I agree with your recommendation with one exception. It is…”; “We need to replace our copier. Here are the reasons…”.
4. Be authentic.
You need to be you. Don’t try to be someone else. Make sure your opinions are your own, and that you are being true to yourself and your opinions. By being authentic, you are building in trust for yourself.
5. Be respectful.
Whenever you communicate, it is mission-critical for you to be respectful of the other person. There are many good reasons for this, but one of the most important is that if they feel you disrespect them, their defenses will be immediately engaged.
6. Don’t interrupt.
While this may appear to be an action, it is really a mindset. It’s important for you to plan to not interrupt – at all. As with our last point, interrupting is disrespectful. No matter how animated you become, be prepared to let the speaker finish.
7. Put defensiveness on hold.
Again, prepare to not be defensive – no matter what is said. Your defensiveness can get in the way of you thinking and acting clearly, so plan to further your point without taking offense.
8. Prepare for the win-win.
Your communication can be most successful when you strive for the win-win. This means that both sides benefit from the change you’re proposing. As you prepare, be careful to think positively about what will work best for you both.
Here are some tips about having the actual communication that can help you make your statement strongly, and with authority:
1. State your position.
Your ability to state your position clearly and succinctly at the outset can set up this communication for success.
2. Answer questions.
Once you’ve stated your position, there may be comments or questions. Answer those questions respectfully and honestly and with an intent to help the other person understand.
Your ability to communicate with authority is directly related to your ability to listen to the other side. It shows respect, and a willingness to work together.
It is okay to remain quiet while you think of a response. Think clearly before responding. Think without being defensive.
5. State your position.
If your position has not changed after dialogue, restate your position in the same manner.
6. Focus on the positive.
When you communicate with authority, remember to stay positive and to focus on the positive outcome. This becomes a win–win for all involved.
Smiles give you the best edge possible. Use them often!