Updated: Sep 27
Speaking Up With Confidence
It can be really hard to speak up in a meeting or conversation. You might feel like you're being ignored, or that you're not being heard. It can be tempting to say something but then hold back only to regret your hesitation later on and then start beating yourself up.
We all want to be heard in the workplace. But it can be hard to speak up when you lack confidence or feel like you don't have a voice.
The first step is to understand that your feelings are valid and that it's okay. It's not just about being confident; it's also about being kind and compassionate towards yourself in the process of speaking up.
Speaking up with confidence is not something that comes naturally to everyone. It's a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. This section will provide you with some tips and advice on how to speak up with confidence.
Why There's A Need To Feel More Confident When Speaking Up
Public speaking is a skill that is so important in today's world. It can be a very nerve-wracking experience for anyone. There are people who have a fear of public speaking, and this fear can stop them from getting the recognition they deserve. This article will discuss how to feel more confident when you speak up, and why it's so important to do so.
First of all, it's important to know that people won't judge you as harshly as you might think they will when you speak up in public. It might be difficult for someone with social anxiety or who has a fear of public speaking to believe this at first, but it's true! The truth is that people are much more compassionate than we give them credit for.
Public speaking is one of the most common fears people have. It's not just an occasional fear, it's a lifelong fear that many people have to deal with. But why?
The fear of public speaking is not just a fear of what other people will think, it's also a fear of the unknown, the fear that no one will care about what you have to say.
Public speaking is a skill that we are required to use in our everyday lives. Whether it's at work, school or even at home, we need to speak up and share our thoughts and opinions with others, because this is such a common activity, there is a higher chance of encountering fear when you speak up.
The fear of public speaking can be so overwhelming that some people avoid any situation where they will have to speak in front of others. This can be detrimental to your career, education or relationships if you don't overcome this fear.
Four Mistakes People Make When It Comes To Speaking Up
There are four common mistakes that people make when it comes to speaking up. The first is not speaking up at all, which can lead to a lack of success and fulfilment. The second is being unclear in what you say, which can lead to misunderstandings and loss of credibility. The third is being too aggressive or pushy in what you say, which can lead to conflict or confrontation. Lastly, the fourth mistake is not listening carefully enough to others when they speak, which can lead to a lack of understanding and connection with others.
Why Speaking Up Matters
We live in an era where people are constantly being told to keep their thoughts to themselves. It's a time where we are constantly told that our ideas and opinions are not important.
But the truth is, your voice matters. The things you say and share could have a huge impact on other peoples lives, how other people see you and how they see your role/position in the team or business, that's why it's so important to speak up.
Speaking up may not always work out, but it's better than staying silent. You'll never know if it will work out if you don't try. It might be difficult to do at first, but with practice and time, it will get easier.
If you want to make a change in your life or someone else's life, speak up!
How To Speak Up With Confidence
As a person who is often in front of an audience, I know how hard it can be to feel confident when you speak. It doesn't matter if you're giving a presentation or speaking up at a meeting, it's important to have the right skillset to feel confident when you speak.
Below are a few tips on how to speak up with confidence
Don’t Wait To Be Invited To Speak
In a world where everyone is a potential speaker, it’s important to know how to get your voice heard.
Speaking is an incredible opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with an audience. It’s also a chance to make connections that can potentially lead to future opportunities.
If you are someone who waits for the group to ask you to speak I encourage you to take action, very often a meeting or conversation can get carried away and before you know it you have run out of time to have your say.
Signal Intent To Speak
Signalling your intent to speak can be useful in a meeting or presentation. It will help you avoid interrupting the speaker and it will let them know that you want to speak.
This can be easily achieved by leaning in, looking towards the speaker, slightly raising hand or finger, open mouth slightly and inhale as if about to speak (see video below).
Doing this will let the current speaker know you have something to say and in most cases they will throw to you when they finish OR the rest of the group will see your signal and they will draw focus to you.
When we have been waiting to speak and all of a sudden the spotlight is focused on us, in the panic of getting out what we want to say, we can often end up talking too fast. It is a natural response to feeling anxious and it can also happen when someone is excited.
When we speak fast, it can be difficult for the listener to understand what we are saying. They may not be able to take it all in and they might miss out on important information.
It also means that we might not be able to articulate ourselves as well as if we take our time with what we say, because our thoughts will get jumbled up and mixed up.
Be Clear And Concise
Clear and concise communication is the key to successful business, it will help you to be more persuasive, build stronger relationships with others, and have a better understanding of what’s happening around you.
It is important to be clear and concise when communicating with people. If you want to get your message across, you should make sure that you are as clear and concise as possible.
There are many ways that you can do this. You can use short sentences, avoid using words that are difficult to understand, and use a conversational tone of voice.
As the old saying goes ‘Less is more’
Leaning in will make you look and feel like part of the group, it will signal to others that engaged and interested in what is happening and being said.
By leaning in you will be displaying confidence and when you want to speak or ask a question it puts you in a much better position to be noticed.
Avoid Asking For Permission
It is important to have a voice. Over the years there have been many times when we have been told to be quiet and not speak up, we have been spoken over by someone else or flat out ignored, all this can have an impact on our confidence and may be why some people struggle to speak up now?
First up, I want you to know your worth. It is important that you feel confident in what you have to say and believe that you deserve a voice in the conversation. The second step is knowing how to be assertive without being aggressive. You want people to take you seriously but not feel threatened by your presence. The third step is knowing your audience and understanding their needs before presenting your idea or point of view on a subject matter.
When you ask for permission to speak, you are signalling a doubt of your own credibility and authority, instead use the ‘Signal Your Intent’ tip mentioned above.
Be Aware Of Your Breathing Rate
Breathing is a natural process that helps us to stay alive. However, many of us don't realise the importance of breathing and how it can affect our speech.
As mentioned above, we need to be aware of how fast we are talking, the way we breathe has a huge impact not only on our rate of speech but also vocal quality.
There are two types of breathing: shallow and deep. Shallow breathing causes the vocal cords to tighten, which results in a higher pitch and less volume. Deep breathing on the other hand relaxes the vocal cords, which results in a lower pitch and more volume.
Breathing too fast can cause people to think that you are nervous, and cause them to feel a little nervous themselves. Breathing too slow can make people think that you are bored or not interested in what they have to say.
When it is your turn to speak take an inhale before you say the first few words and aim to breathe deeply from the abdomen.
Use Confident Body Language
Body language is a way of communicating without words. It can be used to show confidence, or lack thereof, and it can also be used in the workplace to communicate with co-workers.
There are many ways that body language can affect your communication with others. For example, if you are trying to show confidence in a meeting or group discussion, you would want to use confident body language. This includes sitting up straight, making eye contact, using open body language, if you are sat at a table keep your hands above the table top.
Confident people generally take up more space with their posture and are not scared to look around a room at other people.
A Quick Personal Story
I have always had a low tone voice, shortly after I was born my three year old sister came to the hospital to meet her new baby brother, the first noise I made was a low rumbling growl that scared her out of the room.
This low voice of mine got alot of attention as I was growing up, unfortunately not the attention that I wanted. I would often find myself in situations where I was being told to be quiet, a defining moment was when I was seven, it was the Christmas nativity play at school.
With the play if you didn’t have a main character role you had to be in the school choir.
Even though I clearly had the voice of god, I was relegated to the benches to join the other non-celebrity kids of that year.
While we were all enthusiastically rehearsing, singing ‘we three kings from orient are’ one of the teachers called the entire assembly to a halt. Then with eyes like lasers she stared straight at me, almost parting the entire choir in a biblical like fashion.
Teacher: ‘Anthony…. all we can hear is you trying to sing'
All eyes are on me, I start to go as red as a punnet of strawberries at Wimbledon
Teacher: ‘Can you just pretend to sing instead, just move your mouth but don't make any sound'
And that was it, in that moment I lost my voice, not in a ‘just have a honey and lemon’ kind of way, this was a ‘I will never speak in public again’ kind of way.
Only recently (within the last 10 years) have I become comfortable with my voice, when I first started in the world of speaking and entertainment I would feel very self conscious as to how I sounded, listening to any recordings of presentations so I could improve was like torture.
The crazy thing is I now make my living from speaking on stage, the one thing that I spent decades fearing has now become my superpower.
Speaking up is a skill that many people feel uncomfortable with, but it is necessary for most careers. It can also be a powerful tool for spreading ideas and influencing people.
Speaking up is not easy, but it can be made easier by following the tips outlined in this article.
If you found this article interesting you should check out the FREE ‘Building Rapport Mini Training’ I have created for you.
Also, check out another recent article I published on overcoming public speaking fear you can view it here