Women have many great natural strengths as communicators. They are excellent listeners, are capable of great empathy and are very good at picking up on body language, voice, and non- verbal cues.
But there are also three other secrets behind every great woman speaker.
- They are direct
To communicate with Impact, you must be confident in yourself and your communication and lead with your strongest point for the listener.
Unfortunately, many of us tend to do the opposite. What this means is we build up to our strongest point instead of leading with it. We;
- Begin with background/ history
- Go into detail covering all possible areas
- Finally, at the end, we get to the point!
The main reason we do this is we want to establish ourselves and our credibility before we give conclusions. Unfortunately, it is perceived by others are waffling, rambling, and dithering.
If you are using this communication style, I do understand why but you must ask yourself if your listener is going to wait until the end to get what they need. Would you wait that long?
You must lead with your strongest point for the audience and then spend the rest of the time building the story and your credibility around that opening point.
- They don’t use weak language and filler words.
This is one that really separates the good from the great.
Filler words represent a verbal hesitation that has to be filtered out by your listener. Repeated and excessive use of filler words weakens your credibility. It may be perceived as indicating lack of preparation, lack of knowledge, or lack of passion.
‘We feel, we just need to, maybe, kind of, you know, make sure, we are, em, ah, I guess, you know, you understand where we are coming from’
So why do we fill our communication with words that add no value and in fact detract from both our message and our overall impact?
There are three main reasons for the use of filler words:
- We are thinking as we are talking.
- We are afraid of silence.
- We really are not sure what we are talking about
So how do you overcome these challenges?
- The first step is awareness. You must become aware of what filler words you are using and then identify from the list above why you think you are using them.
- The most simple and effective way to reduce and even eliminate filler words is to practice out loud a minimum of three times before you speak for real. This way you will have done your thinking and found your flow.
- Replace the filler word with a pause. You must plan to pause at key points either before or after you deliver an important message. A pause is when you stop, breathe in, and breathe out. It lasts between two to three seconds. It will take time to get used to the silence but persevere.
- You must understand and get to grips with your own topic before you can communicate it to someone else. If you are not sure of your message no one else in the room is going to get clarity.
3. They do the work to feel confident
This is also a big one. When I run courses with women, anywhere in the world, at any level, they always tell me very honestly how they don’t feel confident enough. They tell me how they struggle with impostor syndrome and worry about having enough gravitas and presence.
Here’s the interesting part. Men feel the exact same way. They really do. They just don’t talk about it as much.
The good news is, doubting ourselves is a human condition. Everyone feels it, especially the ones who say they don’t.
The bad news is. I don’t have a magic solution to this I am afraid.
To have confidence you must have experience of doing something a lot and belief you can do it without embarrassing yourself (as this is our biggest fear).
We feel confident about the things in our life we are skilled at. We are skilled at them because we have earned the right to feel confident and competent. Just think for a second about something you feel confident about – I bet you worked very hard to earn that feeling.
The most important take away from today’s blog is stop sabotaging yourself by telling yourself you are not confident enough. You got this.