By Sheila Nazari, Human Resources & Career Consultant, Management & Leadership Solutions
When we hear confident leaders speak, we usually want to continue listening to them. They command a certain presence and catch our attention without being overbearing and commanding. We may have even said to ourselves at one time, “I wish I could speak like that, but (fill in the blanks with excuse).” There are many excuses we can use to avoid working on our communication skills – I’m too shy; I’ll do it later; There’s not enough time; I don’t know where to start; I won’t be very good at it anyways. All we’re doing when we make these excuses is holding ourselves back from developing the skills to speak confidently and feel more empowered.
You may not be making speeches in front of thousands of people; however, being a confident communicator can help you in any aspect of your life. It could help you be better at interviewing for jobs or standing up for yourself to a friend or sharing your ideas at a team meeting at work. Think about a situation where you would want to improve your communication skills and identify what improvement you would like to make.
Two key ingredients for success that I cannot stress enough are preparation and practice. I know a CEO who is an excellent speaker and always grabs people’s attention and receives thunderous applause. People thought that speaking well was his natural talent. After spending time with him, I found that this assumption was far from the truth. He had been a nervous wreck when he had to make his first public appearance and had to work with a speaking coach and spend hours preparing. What looks completely natural to the rest of us is usually the result of days, weeks, and even months of practice and preparation.
Making the change is going to take time and effort on your part. There’s no quick and easy solution, but there are resources out there to help guide you through your journey.
Books to help you communicate with confidence:
Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders by John Baldoni
10 Simple secrets of the world‘s greatest business communicators by Carmine Gallo
The Confident Speaker: Beat Your Nerves and Communicate at Your Best in Any Situation by Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois Frankel
About the Author:
Sheila is a HR and Training Consultant and Career Coach who guide organizations and people in setting and reaching their goals. She has worked with Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized and small companies including Target, Apollo Group, University of Phoenix, Corporate Psychologists, Knight Transportation and Auckland Museum. Sheila received her Master's degree in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management and her Bachelor's Degree from Boston University.