How Confidence Affects Communication, What to Avoid and How to Improve Yours

Communication is the solution to so many problems. So it makes sense to have good communication skills and realize how confidence affects communication.

Have you ever experienced doubt or hesitation when communicating? I know I have experienced this in my life. At times I haven’t wanted to speak up through fear that what I have to say wasn't important. Or thought people wouldn’t be interested.

Other doubts and fears people can have are believing they will sound stupid. This could be subject related or even concerns about their tone of voice.

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Having the self-confidence to speak out, understand others’ and have effective communication skills enable you to excel in your work and social interactions. Not to mention the benefit of good communication within the family, serving as a good example for children.

When you’re self-confident around others’, you are more;

  • Relaxed
  • In control
  • Flexible
  • Treat others’ well
  • More belief in yourself
  • You’re easier to communicate with
  • Objective, not letting feelings take control

Let’s find out more and what we can do to become more confident when communicating with people.

Confident Communication Between Two business people

Importance Of Confidence In Communication

When we’re communicating with other people, feeling confident when we speak is so important. If we talk with a lack of conviction the listener will assume we either don’t have belief in what we’re talking about or we're unsure of the facts, or simply don’t care.

In Work

Imagine being a salesperson yet never used the product, or don’t really know what it’s all about and don’t have any client testimonials to relay. It will almost certainly come across in your voice or text if writing it.

You can see this online, with some websites that review products. Some simply copy a few reviews or details from the manufacturer, then try getting you to click, so they get paid.

Compare that to someone who has used the product. Or better still, have video or images of them using the item. This feels completely different because they have confidence in what they are telling you.

In Our Personal Lives

Have you ever spoken with someone mumbling, who’s voice is shaky, quiet and the delivery is generally non-committal? This doesn’t have to be face to face. It’s quite amazing how much we detect and pick up from people’s voices even on the phone.

You may not always hear it, but our brains can detect the smallest irregularities in someone’s voice. From a lie, lack of conviction, fear, avoidance or insincerity, and we can’t always put our finger on it.

These are the times when we believe we have a sixth sense, that something isn’t quite right or doesn’t add up.

How To Overcome Lack Of Confidence In Communication

It’s all about learning to feel more confident in ourselves in general, which will help your communication with others. But there are some specific things you can do to build confidence while communicating.

One of the best things I can tell you is to listen closely when someone is speaking to you, giving your full attention to everything they are saying. Only then can you truly respond and have a conversation honestly and selflessly.

Too often we use the time when the other person is speaking to think about what WE want to say next, rather than giving them our full attention. Show genuine interest and follow up with questions about what they just said.

What is people’s favorite subject? - THEMSELVES…

As Dale Carnegie says in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, if you imagine people have the letters MMFI (Make Me Feel Important) written across their forehead and truly listen, you will become a great communicator.

Relax and just be yourself. Try not to speak like, or be someone you’re not by using unfamiliar language and don’t look for perfection in your communication because it won’t happen.

Remember to keep good eye contact when communicating with others. You can glance away now and again but bring it back while paying attention to what’s being said.

In conversations try to avoid asking closed questions. What I mean is don’t just ask questions that could be answered with a simple yes or no. Use open-ended questions that warrant a longer, fuller answer as it will give for a more interesting conversation.

For example, instead of asking; Did you enjoy that movie? Which only warrants a yes or no reply, try; What did you think of that movie? Or What part did you enjoy most about that movie?

Open-ended questions tend to start with;

  • What.. 
  • Why.. 
  • Where.. 
  • When..
  • How..

You’re not going to get along with every single person, and not every communication will go great. But if you accept this and realize people’s opinions don’t determine who you are, accept the mistakes and move on.

Confidence in communication will come from experience, so to get better, practice more. The more you do, the better and more confident you will become. It’s a matter of facing the fear and doing it anyway. There’s no other way I know to overcome.

How Do You Build Confidence In Communication Skills?

Believe you have value and you are no less important than any of your friends or colleagues.

I used to work in a job where I would regularly receive phone calls from the office for various reasons. I always knew when one particular person would be on the phone by the way he always started his introduction.

As I answered the phone he would start by saying “Hi Steve, it’s only Paul…” Because he said It’s ONLY Paul, he was devaluing himself, as if to say “I’m not important

Always know that you are doing a valuable job and communicating or gaining important information. Paul was employed for the work he carried out and he was communicating information valuable to my job, like product stock levels which I needed to complete my work.

Practice, practice, practice

We all need to face our fears head-on if we want to overcome them. There is no other way and no amount of preparation will take all the fear away. At some point, we just have to go for it and do enough of it until we’re used to communicating with people on a regular basis.

It’s the same with any skill. After we’ve found any initial information, it’s all about repetition and in time you will become a good communicator.

How To Project Confidence Through Body Language

It’s not all about the spoken word. Non-verbal communication like body language, posture, movements, gestures, and facial expressions are also important when communicating face to face.

You’re probably thinking, WOW, that’s a lot to consider, isn’t it? How on earth am I supposed to learn or take in all those things as well as speech?

The truth is, most of these non-verbal indicators get picked up by our subconscious, and contribute to the complete impression we have of the speaker. Or indeed their opinion of you.

When building our confidence in communication there are some things that can be done on a conscious level in the beginning.

  • Keep still and don’t fidget
  • Keep good body posture - don’t slouch
  • Give you full attention to the conversation
  • Don’t cross your arms, it comes across as defensive or closed off
  • Don’t have sunglasses on which prevents the other person seeing your eyes

Someone I knew used to keep checking his car was locked during conversation and constantly looking around, rather than looking at the person talking with him. This just makes the listener think you’re looking for something better to do, or you’re bored.

When listening to someone in a conversation consider their body language as feedback to what you’re saying.

Take cues from the listener. Do they understand you? - this will depend on feedback from their body language and gestures. Have they crossed their arms, changed facial expressions or frowned as you said something?

You will detect these cues in your conversations from their body language and can, therefore, adjust your speech or ask questions to find out more.

What to Avoid for Confident Communication

What To Avoid For Confident Communication

I want to say again because it’s so important; 

Relax, be yourself and be genuine in all communications and you will get the most from them.

Don’t put anyone on a pedestal, speak with people knowing they are no different to you when it comes down to it. We can have respect for people but never believe we are any less than anyone else.
  • Don’t fidget
  • Don’t look at the floor
  • Don’t over-explain or talk too much
  • Don’t interrupt people when speaking
  • Don’t look stressed or have a scrunched up face - relax
  • Don’t end sentences with questions - communicate assertively
  • Don’t be hesitant to express your opinions or ideas when asked
  • Don’t overthink or always be thinking about yourself (you’ll be more natural and confident)

Slow down. Don’t try getting out what you have to say as fast as possible. I used to think the quicker I got everything out the sooner it would be over, and I could relax. Nerves can make us speak faster so we need to consciously slow down and take pauses often

Don’t be concerned or worried about what others may think. What if I mess up? I’ll be a laughing stock… Realize people have their own lives and countless situations going on to be concerned or thinking about how you sounded or what you may have said.

  • Be honest and sincere
  • Be optimistic and positive
  • Be respectful of other people
  • Keep calm and still, don’t pace
  • Be sensitive to other people's feelings

Breathe. Nerves can make us breathe shallower and remember nerves can come across as excitement when speaking.

Now you know how confidence affects communication, what to do and what not to do, think about practising with your closest family and friends. Go and have some great conversations and have fun while building your confidence with communication.

Let me know your comments and experiences below.

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