Communicating with Confidence

Industry Matters Newsletter

Although people understand that public speaking is an essential skill in industry, many remain nervous and struggle to speak with confidence. Course leader and speaker Jeff Ansell gives listeners tips on how to overcome nervousness and speak with confidence in a public setting.

Ansell explains that the key thing about confident communicators is that they look and sound like they know what they are talking about. A study conducted by UCLA discovered that people interpret the attitudes and emotions of others based on three factors. These “three V’s” are vision, vocal and verbal. The study showed that of these three, 55 percent of people said that they perceive the attitudes and emotions of others based on vision.

To help people better interpret your attitudes and emotions, Ansell suggests focusing on eye contact, hand gestures and facial expressions. Keep hand gestures large and open-palmed. Your eyes should reflect the mood and tone of your message in your facial expression, and don’t look away from your audience.

To appear like you know what you are talking about, you need to sound confident. Ansell says the best way to do this is to open your mouth more when you speak to get a richer sound, and to speak with energy and conviction in your voice. Remember to pause occasionally to let your audience digest what you said.

You need to have a message to stay on track, Ansell explains. Use simple words and short sentences to make sure that the audience understands what your message is—what you want them to come away with from your presentation. 

If nervousness is your biggest barrier to being a confident communicator, take pressure off yourself!  Remember, Ansell says, that you are not important. Your message is important. You don’t have to be the perfect speaker.