Communicate with Confidence, Get your Message Across
Even if you are shy or unassertive you can still communicate with confidence, or at least you can give the impression of being confident. Then, when you start getting better responses and outcomes, true self assurance will grow.
Communicate with Confidence at Work
Imagine you are going to ask for the day off. You prepare your case, choose the best moment to ask, and have something to negotiate with tucked up your sleeve BUT you hunch up, don't look your boss in the eye and speak in a pleading tone......
You are sending mixed messages. Your words may sound perfectly reasonable, but your protective body language and submissive tone of voice convey doubt about your right to make, or be granted, this request. This will not enhance your image either as an employee or as a person, and you are more likely to get the brush-off.
Have you ever been listening to someone, when suddenly something struck the wrong note, making you feel uneasy? This happens when all the elements of a communication do not marry up. Inconsistency makes our intuitive whiskers twitch. If you want to communicate successfully, don't put your listener on alert.
The best way to communicate with confidence is to convey the same message through all channels. If, in the above example, you had stood erect and established eye contact, spoken in a straightforward way with a strong tone of voice, as if you felt you naturally deserved what you were asking for..... you'd probably have been acknowledged as an equal (at least as a human being) and got the 'yes'.
That Tricky Situation
If you have a potentially difficult situation coming up like asking for a raise, take time beforehand to rehearse your speech and body language until you are satisfied with how you conduct yourself.
Enlist the help of a good friend and role-play to make the situation more real. Your friend can also give you valuable feedback afterwards. Even if you cringe at the idea, realise that in overcoming any awkwardness you might feel in this situation, you are helping yourself to communicate with confidence in the real one.
When it comes to the actual day, you can further boost your chances of success by dressing suitably for the occasion. In this way you can help yourself feel more confident as well as appear more credible or powerful, but don't overdo.
Speaking with Confidence in Your Relationships
We need to express ourselves outside of work too, so let's look at another example. You are really irritated by your partner's habit of leaving their shoes where you regularly trip over them. You feel anxious about bringing this up as it may cause an argument. How to approach this?
You want someone else to alter their behaviour for you. That can be hard to express unless you communicate with confidence. First, get comfortable with your right to have needs and to ask for them to be met. Then, structure your opening sentence so it begins with 'I', and not, as you may be tempted, to use the accusatory 'you'. Hackles will definitely rise if you say "You made me trip over by leaving your shoes out yet again. Why can't you put them away!"
It is unlikely your partner deliberately created an obstacle course for you out of malice, so treat him/her respectfully. Instead, try something like "I felt irritated when I tripped over your shoes this morning. Please would you keep them tidy or put them away." Delivered in a confident yet unheated tone, this may well get you what you want or at least lead to useful negotiation.
The above example can be used as a template for friends, colleagues, and complete strangers too.
Learning to communicate with confidence in all your relationships is well worth the effort. Intimate relationships especially, require constant communication so that tension does not build up. Give regular positive messages to your partner such as affection, smiles, compliments and little acts of kindness. Then, when you do bring up an issue and ask them to do something for you, your partner is more likely to be receptive.
The examples above highlight skills which can be practised and learned in conjunction with the specific confidence-building tips and techniques on this site. It is essential you grow the belief that you deserve to be respected, listened to and treated fairly. As your belief grows, so will your power to communicate with confidence.
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