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Want to get more business? Here are three things that show a customer, client, or prospect you're confident.
"Can you help me?" the voice on the phone said. Then immediately added, "I can tell by the confidence in your voice that you can."
Even after over twenty years of helping people build their confidence for speaking, I was impressed hearing that. Imagine your level of confidence convincing someone of your competence even before they asked about your abilities. And then answering their own question!
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Three Performance Skills That Convey Confidence
Did you know that every time you speak to others, you're giving a performance? No matter how brilliant you are or how massive your data, communicating successfully comes down to two things: connecting with listeners, and getting them to accept what you say.
For that to happen, they need to be confident that you know what you're talking about. And that will only take place if you show supreme confidence in yourself. Here are three areas you can focus on to make that happy possibility a reality.
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Vocal Confidence. When it comes to persuasion, the best performance tool you own is your voice. It needs to reassure and embody the sound of experience while eliciting a feeling of calmness and reliability. It should be warm yet strong, friendly yet professional, and responsive to nuances from the other person's speech.
If this sounds like something that would be devilishly difficult to achieve by intention, you're right. These attributes aren't put-upon—they are inherent in who you are. It helps enormously if you have faith in your knowledge, experience, and ability to help the customer or prospect.
Here's a practical way to gain this vocal demeanor: make those you're speaking to the center of everything. Forget how you sound, or indeed, how you're coming across. Give all your focus to your listener(s) and their needs. When you respond, your voice will carry all of the attributes you possess to meet those needs. If they are really there, it will sound like it.
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Body Confidence. Whether you're speaking in person or virtually, people need to see that the person you display to the world is a confident one. This is most important—and easiest—in in-person speaking, though it also matters in virtual settings. Your body language broadcasts how you feel about yourself, so it's vital in conveying self-confidence.
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It's no mystery why this is so. A considerable part of our brain is taken up with processing visual information, since our survival depends upon it. Think, for instance, about someone approaching you from the opposite direction on the sidewalk. You're subconsciously paying attention to whether the situation you're in represents safety, danger, or something in between. Or watch people in a busy setting, observing how confident they seem by the way they carry themselves. Likewise, the people you talk to are perceiving your own sense of self-regard!
Remember: How you stand affects your standing with an audience. Work on your posture if necessary, standing or sitting. Make sure your chest is open to the audience, not sunk in. Use gestures that stay within an imaginary square drawn from your shoulders to your midsection (so they emerge from your center). And make all your gestures well defined and few in number.
Performance Confidence. One of the most important indicators of confidence is the sense of control you convey when you speak. It should seem that you're saying exactly what you want to say, at a pace you find comfortable, in precisely the manner you want to say it. Appearing in control shows confidence. Period.
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Here are two practical approaches that can help. First, use breathing to center and focus yourself. If necessary, set aside a few moments before you speak to get into the right "respiration rhythm." Breathing is the fastest tool there is for pulling you back into the present.
Second, consciously slow your pace. This not only gives the impression I mentioned above, of a speaker who takes things at the pace he or she deems best. It also has the added benefit—that somehow we seldom consider—that listeners need a slow pace to aid their understanding. If you do that, your audience will be confident that you're making the effort to help them get what you're saying.
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Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking training and overcoming speaking fear. His company, Boston-based The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching and corporate group training worldwide. In 2021 for the eighth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals. He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speaking, was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His latest book is The Online Meetings Handbook, now available at The Genard Method and at Amazon. To know more about TGM's services, Contact Gary here.