From talking with your kid’s teachers to applying for a new job, handling difficult people, or talking with your boss, the best speakers know how important it is to sound confident (even if you don’t feel like it.).
Here are six tips from Alex Perry, CEO of Practically Speaking to help you sound more confident when you talk.
1. Get rid of weak words.
Weak words are words that don’t carry specific meaning like “sorta, maybe, kinda, really, very, about” They leave wiggle room for your listener and suggest that you’re unsure of what you’re talking about. Be specific when you speak; instead of saying, “the movie is kinda good!” say, “the movie is good.”
2. Ditch filler words.
We use filler words such as “um, like, uh, so, er” when we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to say. They’re distracting and make you sound like you don’t know what you want to say. You can get rid of them by getting comfortable with pauses where you are silent and by taking a breath before you move on to your next thought.
3. Pause before you speak.
Pausing does two things it signals to your listener that you’re about to give a thoughtful response, and it gives you the time to craft one. By taking just a few seconds to think through an answer before you talk, you’ll be able to go on to number four with confidence!
4. Finish your sentences.
When you don’t, you sound scattered and inattention. To sound more confident, finish your sentence before moving on to your next thought!
5. Increase your volume.
We perceive louder speakers as being more confident and competent. If you’re a soft-spoken person, increase your volume, so you’re seen as confident.
6. Don’t uptalk!
Uptalking happens when a speaker uses a rising pitch at the end of a sentence. It makes everything you say sound like a question, which makes you sound unsure. “Have a nice day?” To sound confident, make sure you end your statements with a falling pitch. “Have a nice day.”
Alex Perry is the CEO of Practically Speaking, LLC, author of Minivan Mogul: A Crash Course in Confidence in For Women and host of the Minivan Mogul Podcast. Her passion for all things speaking comes from spending nearly two decades as a Speech Language Pathologist, helping people regain the ability to speak after illness or injury. Alex is a motivational TEDx speaker, facilitator, and mentor. She helps others speak and share their stories with confidence using strategies she’s learned the hard way throughout her career. She’s a nationally certified Speech Language Pathologist, has a background in adult neurology and emotional intelligence and is an EQ-I 2.0 certified administrator. More importantly, Alex blends her scientific approach speaking with her love of storytelling, laughter, and humor into her work with individual clients and corporate teams. Most importantly, she’s a mom, minivan driver and front row fan of her speakers.