These tips will give you confidence and resilience.
Story: Merilee Kern
Communication is ingrained in every facet of life. Yet, many people struggle with fear when they must present ideas, address complicated situations, express feelings, negotiate, or just “sell” themselves—personally or professionally.
“Some people are paralyzed with fear at the very thought of taking an idea and communicating it, both in the workplace and in their everyday life,” says Megan Rokosh, global business communications expert with many years of public relations, media, and creative strategy experience. “However, confidence can be significantly bolstered by heeding even a few simple strategies—some basic fundamentals and essentials—that can improve one’s poise and self-assurance.”
Here are three of Megan’s confidence-building communications requisites:
1. Craft situation diffusion dialogue. Create an assortment of “go-to” statements for use in awkward or difficult situations. These are assertions and declarations you know work well and you can whip out quickly. For example, when late to a social outing, rehearse saying, “I’m so sorry I kept you waiting, my rule is when I’m late, all the drinks are on me.” Or, when you’re at a loss for words, you can assert, “I could have sworn I packed my tongue today” and lighten the moment.
2. Give in to vulnerability. Vulnerability often equals likability and they are indelibly connected—use that truth to your benefit. There are few characteristics more off-putting than arrogance. Being vulnerable can make you more relatable. If you’re nervous and starting a meeting, tell your audience to “be gentle with you” and have a quick laugh to loosen everyone up as well as yourself. Self-effacing humor is a powerful tool. Or, if you’re having a difficult time understanding something, say, “I’m so sorry if I’m holding us up, but could you explain one more time?”
3. Address adversities head on. You will undoubtedly face times at work and at home dealing with something difficult. Although challenging and scary, it must be addressed and effectively resolved. Great leaders always speak up and you should, too. Be clear from the beginning that you will hear and consider the other person’s side. Say, “Your perspective is valid and I want to hear what you have to say, but please allow me to share my thoughts….” followed by the suitable words. This gives you the floor, and the other party the assurance they can present their side. This discourse should be in person, not text or email, whenever possible. There are times when a call or in-person meeting is better and face-to-face is more impactful and meaningful.
The world’s best communicators are trained. “It’s very (rare) that an incredible communicator hasn’t put in extensive work toward oration skills so they can speak eloquently, pause in powerful silence when appropriate, address very difficult media questions,” Megan notes. “It’s important to remember that, while some people are inherently talented communicators, for many (if not most), becoming a confident communicator requires learned skills.”
Megan has worked with many high-profile global organizations and consulted with C-suite executives from nearly every industry, creating successful platforms founded on effective communications. This includes working directly with top-tier media like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Ad Age, Adweek, and others.
So, if effectively communicating is your area of insecurity, if fear holds you back, or if you just want to improve your communications prowess, try these three tips to feel more resilient and controlled.
About the writer
Merilee Kern is an influential media voice, lauded communications strategist, and executive editor and producer of the Luxe List International News Syndicate.