A common concern when speaking to groups is sounding unsure. In a business setting you want to strike a balance between warmth and authority. Too much warmth and you seem like a “push over”. Too much authority and you seem too cold and distant.
If you don’t believe in yourself, it can come across as a lack of authority in your voice and style of speaking. Fortunately, it’s a skill you can learn. Here are some tips that will help bring out the warm, authoritative leader in you.
#1) Make eye contact: Effective communication, especially in small groups, is almost impossible without establishing eye contact. If you look down at notes, at your computer, or slide show and avoid eye contact, people can interpret that as disinterest or nervousness. Take some time before the meeting to chat 1-to-1 with a few of your listeners, establish rapport, and then when you start talking you’ll feel more comfortable making eye contact with at least those people.
#2) Project your voice: If you’re voice is soft and shaky when speaking to a group find a small group to practice with, or a coach to work with, or practice onto your web cam and watch it again. Memorize a story you want to share and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Try doing it softly, then loudly, then imagine you’re a person who is highly authoritative. Just have fun with it. Let yourself break free of old patterns.
#3) Know your material: Often nervous behaviour happens when you don’t think you’re good at speaking. If you re-focus on the message and how you want to help people, you will naturally start being more of your “best self”, when you’re relaxed and talking to someone you enjoy conversing with. That’s the goal. Think of the last time you listened to someone address a group. You WANT them to do well, right? You don’t want to see them choke up. Your listeners also want YOU to do well. Focus on helping them and you will automatically be better.
FURTHER RESOURCES: For more information on how to be a confident speaker check out Confidence Gold for Presenters with top speakers Carla Rieger and Dave O’Connor. This Course is for people who must give presentations to build their business or as part of their job. Whether you give presentations 1-to-1, to small groups or large groups, it takes BIG confidence to be effective. The good news is that you can build authentic confidence through re-training your brain. Discover 7 insider secrets for being an excellent presenter, so you can grow your career to the next level of success.