Speaking up with confidence so others listen


You probably know someone who can win over others with their words. What they have to say may not even be the most insightful or knowledgeable, but it’s how they project their ideas with a confident tone that sets them apart. Speaking with confidence is invaluable in life and particularly important when you are running a business. When you address your team with confidence, they listen and act. Clients respond to your advice when you speak with authority about massage therapy or skin treatments. And dealing with vendors, landlords, and other business associates generally involves negotiations. If you want to ensure that your best interests are met, you want to start the discussion by projecting confidence through what you say and how you say it.

You don’t have to be born with confidence to address a crowd or even just one other person and win them over. Speaking with confidence is a skill you can develop.  You also don’t have to become an expert at it overnight.  Also, ask for feedback. If you have a trusted associate, ask them how you came across when you spoke up at a meeting or in some other group situation. Someone on your team you trust can also be a candidate for giving you input on how you addressed the group in laying out a plan, making assignments, or talking about future challenges and opportunities.

Other ways to build your confidence in speaking up include:

  1. Write down what you are planning to say:  Write down the comments you want to make; then read them so you can hear how your words sound. Choice of words matters a great deal when you try to influence others or encourage them to take action.  You may need to rewrite your messages repeatedly to get just the right, impactful words. Brevity, too, also can help in speaking with confidence. A few powerful words can make a stronger impression at times than lots of detail.
  2. Get factual: The more facts you have to back up your statements, the more confidence you will have.  When you speak from facts and stats and not emotion, you’ll be perceived as having more strength. People might be able to derail your comments when they are largely emotional. Facts back you up.
  3. Let your body language back you up: How you stand and use your hands, and eye contact supports your message. If your eyes are lowered when you speak, for example, they detract from the powerful message you may be conveying.
  4. Frame things as an opinion:  Words such as “I think” or “I believe” reflect your opinion, which may be easier to convey than trying to make a statement of fact without all the data to support your position.
  5. Don’t worry about the outcome:  Don’t focus on how people will respond to your comments. That may inhibit you from speaking up. Say what you want, and don’t get bogged down worrying what others may think.


Speaking with confidence attracts others to you. It’s a skill you may have to work on, but it will pay big benefits because people know where you stand, what you bring to the table, and also that you mean what you say.

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