Communicating With Confidence

Posted October 17, 2013 by Bobbie LaPorte in Networking Buzz
So much of our success as career women depends on confident, effective communications — on our ability to persuade others to action, advance our ideas and value, and to stay calm during challenging situations. So, how do you find your “voice” to speak up and be heard and use powerful language to inspire and lead others?

Here are my three “insider” tips to start building your confidence as a communicator::

  1. Preparation, preparation, preparation: this sounds pretty basic, but how many of us really take the time to prepare, no matter how trivial the communication may seem? Whether it is a formal presentation, regular staff meeting or a 1:1 with your manager: know your audience, research the topic(s), and think about the desired outcome: what do you want to have achieved when the meeting is over? Prepare and plan from that point
  2. Use powerful words and tone: avoid starting sentences with I think; instead use the more powerful I know, I believe, I am confident that, to show sureness in what you are saying. And don’t end your sentences with your voice raised! So many of us do that, and it appears that we are asking for reassurance and uncertain of our position
  3. Make eye contact: we all know the effective use of eye contact to establish credibility and connection with our audience, yet many of us look down, away, or over the heads of people with whom we are speaking. Practice establishing eye contact at the beginning of a conversation and try to maintain it until there is a natural pause in the conversation

Also – ask for feedback. Share with a friend or colleague that you are working on improving your communications skills and ask them to observe you in a meeting and share feedback later.

Preparation, practice and knowing your desired outcome in any situation will help you build your skills as a confident communicator and advance your career.

About the Author

Bobbie LaPorte

Bobbie LaPorte, is Founder and Principal of RAL & Associates, a consulting firm providing career and leadership development services to technology, financial services and healthcare organizations. RAL & Associates produces the “When She Speaks” – Women in Leadership Series in San Francisco, sponsored by blue chip Bay Area companies. Before founding RAL & Associates, Bobbie served in GM, COO and CMO roles in several Fortune 50 companies, including IBM, GE and United Healthcare, as well as two healthcare technology start-ups. A certified career coach, she has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from Harvard. She is a nationally-recognized expert on the powerful relationship between physical fitness and career success, and an accomplished triathlete and multi-sport coach. Bobbie is currently training for her fifth Ironman triathlon. When she is not coaching executives or Ironman triathletes she proudly serves on a number of Bay Area non-profit boards and happily rescues senior Golden Retriever dogs