Only 7% of any message we want to communicate comes from our words, so we need to make sure that we sound more confident at work.
Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organised and on the right track.
As someone who coaches women to make a confident impact in the workplace; communication and language are key to me. I spend a significant amount of time supporting clients to learn the most effective ways to convey messages.
I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.
Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:
1. Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning People Down
For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.
Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is far more successful than the other.
When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.
For example, if you’re asked to take on a new responsibility that really doesn’t suit your talents or have any benefit to your career, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I can’t take on the extra work now,” say, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I don’t have the available time at the moment due to my other priorities.
By phrasing your response to sound more confident, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your work.
2. Stop Writing “Sorry for not replying earlier” in Emails
In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”
Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.
Why are we so eager to apologise for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.
Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for not replying earlier” say, “Thank you for your patience.” Or include more detail such as: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”
This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.
3. Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”
How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy days?
While that’s unlikely to change, we can improve the way we describe our activities.
When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.
Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly, state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m travelling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”
People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes to sound more confident, will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them.
If you’d like to discuss other ways to communicate in a confident and impactful way, do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
When we see other people’s successes, it can be tempting to believe that it came easily to them. Or that it was our bad luck that meant we weren’t successful too.
But the truth is that at the heart of almost every successful business, career or relationship there has been some form of failure.
You’ve probably heard the stories of famous people who talk about all the failures that they had before their fabulous successes. For example, the author J.K Rowling says:
“Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I suspected.”
As uncomfortable as it feels, failure is essential to our self-development and to build our confidence.
I have had my own experience of failures. Such as; when I’ve developed new coaching programmes or tried new marketing methods, which came to nothing.
However, from these setbacks, I have become confident about what I do and resilient if things don’t go well.
If you feel like a fear of failure is holding you back then here’re 5 reasons not to:
You learn more from failure than success. A study at the University Of Colorado has shown that knowledge picked up from successes is easily forgotten. Whereas knowledge from failures tends to stick with us for years
It teaches you how to get up again and be resilient. The more you fail the more your resilience builds and although you may not want to fail, you’ll lose that fear of failure
You get better at taking risks. Those people who are the most confident and successful have a history of taking risks. Learning to step out of your comfort zone and taking even a small risk is essential to building confidence
It reminds you that every phase of life is temporary. What was a big issue at the time when you failed, often becomes less significant as time passes
You can use it to review what is important to you. If you fail to get a promotion or to achieve your goals it can remind you of what is more important in your life
If there’s a goal you want to achieve or an opportunity you’d like to take, but you’re scared you might fail. Then remember that whatever the outcome is, it doesn’t affect who you are or your value to the world.
If you’d like to talk about your goals, your fear of failure or the confidence challenges you have then you can book a call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
We’re running up to the final few days of 2017 now, where did it go! However your 2017 went I’m sure you’re looking forward to a confident new year.
For some people, it’s been a really tough year, but for most of us, there will have been some wonderful and positive moments, along with possible setbacks and sadness.
Year’s end is neither an end or a beginning, but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can install in us.
Before you launch into your New Year resolutions it’s worth thinking about what this year had to teach you.
To help you with this I have 3 powerful questions:
What one thing did you do this year that you are most proud of?
It doesn’t matter how big or small this achievement is. Just remember to acknowledge your efforts and success, as that will boost your confidence for next year
Think about a mistake you made this year and what was the lesson you learnt from it?
Again the size of the mistake isn’t important, it’s about the changes you can take into 2018 as a result
Which belief about yourself are you going to let go of before 2018?
This means the story or belief you have about yourself. For example; “I can’t do presentations” or “There’s no point in me trying to make new friends, I never meet anyone new”
Challenge these stories and let the beliefs go. Then step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the results
See this as an opportunity for self-compassion (being kind to yourself) rather than using it to replay uncomfortable situations or to set high expectations for yourself.
I believe that setting yourself goals can be a great way to motivate and focus your energy as long as you don’t attach your self-esteem and approval to the outcome.
If you decide that your new belief for 2018 is to spend more time on self-care and self-compassion. Then why not start off by spending a day focusing on your goals for the year and learning new techniques to manage your worries and negative thoughts?
I’m holding a 1-day retreat on Saturday 20th Jan 2018, where you can join a maximum of 8 other women for a day of personal development and fun all in the gorgeous surrounding of Down Hall Hotel, Essex
When you imagine yourself as a really confident person, what does that look like? Does it mean your loud, gregarious, independent and self-contained? Or could it be quiet, calm, authentic and comfortable with asking for help?
For some reason asking for help in our society has become a sign of weakness. Why is it that we would rather struggle on with a feeling of overwhelm or stress, rather than turn to a friend or colleague to help us out?
One of the reasons, I believe, is that we like to give the impression to others that we have everything under control and don’t like to show our vulnerabilities.
One of my favourite guru’s is Brene Brown, a research psychologist in America who has studied shame and vulnerability. If you haven’t seen her Ted talk then I really recommend it The Power Of Vulnerability
I know in the past I have wanted to multitask and ‘do it all’. I’d rather play the martyr, working really hard to juggle everything and building resentment against others for not realising I needed help. When all I had to do was ask.
Now I realise that people love to help, it gives them a warm feeling and I acknowledge that I am worthy of receiving support.
It did feel scary at first as I found it uncomfortable to relinquish control. But by letting go and allowing others in to help you, gives some surprising benefits. I found that it strengthened my relationships and that colleagues found me less intimidating.
I highly recommend you dare to implement asking for help into your life. You can start by changing your mindset around what a confident person looks like. I believe that knowing when to ask for help and why you need it is a strong sign of confidence.
What you’ll also notice is then your priorities start to change, with less focus on being in control and more on you and what you need or want.
With that in mind, I’d really appreciate your help in sharing these thoughts with others. If you could share this article on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin I’d appreciate it.
What help are you going to ask for today?
P.S. If you’d like my help with your confidence, I’d love to have a quick 2omins chat with you. I’ll share at least one technique that you can use to boost your confidence immediately. Just email me here
the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do’.
My question for you is what are you going to do today to narrow the confidence gap?
Does the word conflict make you feel immediately uncomfortable?
Would you do anything to shut down or change a conversation if there was a disagreement?
That’s a normal reaction because fighting isn’t fun. It’s stressful and it can affect your important relationships.
However, in many situations at work or with friends it can be a healthy way to express your feelings and to have your thoughts and opinions heard.
What stops us speaking up when we disagree?
There’s a lot of different reasons and I’ve picked out here some of the common ones my clients mention:
A deep fear of upsetting the other person, being disapproved of or causing other negative emotions
An experience of bad arguments in your childhood or adulthood
A childhood where there was never conflict and disagreements weren’t discussed
Conditioning by society, school or parents to behave like a ‘nice’ girl
How do I build my conflict resolution skills?
Step 1 – is this issue important enough to me to speak up? You don’t have to confront every situation but if it’s happened before, you are having conversations in your head about it or it breaches your personal boundaries, then go for it
Step 2 – speak assertively. This means talking about the facts of the situation and using ‘I’ statement. Then you won’t be blaming the other person and they’re less likely to be defensive
Step 3 – Listen and question. I like to think about Stephen Covey’s famous quote “Seek first to understand, then to be understood“
Step 4 – what is the real issue behind the conflict? The issue for the other person might not be actually what you’re disagreeing about. For example, a heated family discussion about who has the parents for Xmas might actually be about feelings of jealousy or being left out. When you know the real meaning it’s easier to be compassionate
Step 5 – winning isn’t always the right outcome. Having a set outcome in mind is important, such as an apology or change of opinion. But sometimes just speaking up for yourself is enough. It gives a great boost to your self-respect and also might build the other person’s respect for you.
“I am”, these two very simple words have the power to impact on you and your confidence.
Whenever you use the words “I am..” or ‘I’m not…” you are labelling yourself. We love to label ourselves, others and things as it gives us clarity in a confusing world.
Be careful though, that by defining yourself with these two words you’re not limiting your reality and your potential.
For example, due to my regular accidents with cars, phones and wine glasses. I will tend to say about myself “I am clumsy”. But am I really? Or do I lack concentration in certain situations?
By labelling myself as clumsy I avoid doing certain tasks and restrict my abilities.
It can be very hard to differentiate between what you say about yourself and what is true.
To avoid this you need to be able to differentiate between conditional and unconditional labels.
These are truths about us that are unconditionally true. Such as “I am a mother” or “I am a teacher”. They define us and are helpful to use.
They can sometimes feel uncomfortable when used to describe a positive.
To some people saying “I am an entrepreneur” or “I am a writer” is difficult, as they’re not sure they’re worthy of it. But it’s important to accept and acknowledge your identity as a step to a strong self-worth.
These are labels we put on ourselves that aren’t always true, like my “I am clumsy”. They’re usually negative labels and are often driven by our insecurities. For example “I am fat” or “I am unhappy’ or “I am lazy”.
They may have some truth in them, but they are a state you’re in at a particular time rather than a definition of you.
Instead, try using “I’m feeling unhappy at the moment” or “Today I’m too lazy to do it”. It’s a small difference in words but a huge difference in the effect on your mindset.
My advice is to use unconditional “I am” more frequently and to be aware of and avoid the conditional “I am”. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make to your confidence.
P.S. If you’d like to have a chat with me about this and other confidence issues, you can book a call at www.speakwithjo.com
To invest in yourself is one of the best returns on investments you can have.
Whether it’s investing in learning a new skill, developing yourself personally or professionally, tapping into your creativity or hiring a coach, you need to give to yourself first before you can give to others.
Investing in yourself is also an example of self-respect and self-love and the only person that can do that is you.
Why is investing in yourself so powerful?
When you spend time or money on yourself it sends a powerful message to you and the world. The message is:
I am of value and potential, and that is important enough to me that I’m going to give myself the energy, space and time to grow and create results.
When you’re willing to say yes, take that leap of faith and invest in yourself, you will feel empowered and gain many other amazing rewards.
I would like to share some incredible ways that you can invest in yourself. The great news is they don’t all require money.
Invest in building your confidence. People who know their value, have something to say and others will listen. You can invest in yourself by developing an understanding of the value that you possess and offer others.
Take care of your health. Eat right each day, fueling your body with nutrients. When you focus on eating healthier choices, you will feel better and have more energy. I know that the unhealthy burger or chocolate bar gives us instant gratification, but if you’re like me, you regret it later, because you feel guilty afterwards. Do something every day to get moving and get your heart rate up, even, if it’s just walking the dog. Moving gives you the energy to take on the day with confidence because of how it makes you look and feel.
Invest time in your creativity. Our creativity doesn’t have to diminish as we get older. In fact, it is believed that the peak of creativity in most people is around 30-40 years old. (Lindaur, 1998, Marisiske &Willis, 1998) Creativity inspires us to have fun and appreciate the beauty in the world
Invest in a coach. A coach can assist you in putting all of these strategies into action. A coach is your partner in success. It is their job to assist you in creating and implementing your success plan, so you can become the best that you can be.
I can promise you this: When you invest in yourself, a world of opportunities will open up for you. And, if you have a career/business where you sell your services, you must know that no one will invest in you until you invest in yourself first.
Investing in yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually and financially, will allow you to become the best version of yourself.
According to research, people generally make a judgement on you in less than 7 seconds.
For the majority of interactions you may not care what they think, but with certain individuals, making a good impression is very important.
So how do you ensure that you get the most out of those 7 seconds?
Well here are my top tips for building rapport with strangers:
Get the basics right. Smile and make eye contact. 48% of people feel that a smile is the most memorable feature after meeting someone.
Use confident body language. Your body language should be open and taking up as much space as possible. Looking confident even if you don’t feel it inside, tricks your mind into feeling confident
Be positive. You might be feeling nervous or having a tough time but if you pass that negative feeling onto others they can be drained and form a negative impression. Every situation has a learning opportunity and having an upbeat attitude really helps rapport
Listen actively and be present. Too often we think we’re listening and focusing on the other person but actually, we’re away in our own heads. Keep your focus on the other person, stay present in the moment and really listen
Mirror or match. This is a way of nonverbally saying “I have something in common with you”. Use your body language to copy what the other person is doing e.g. cross legs or folding arms (matching). Or do the opposite (mirroring) e.g. they put their left hand under their chin and you do your right hand. Make sure you do it subtly not overtly.
Whether a 1st impression can be changed or not is something disputed by researchers. However, it has been shown that the more important a relationship is to us, the more open we are to gradually reform our 1st impression.
So even if you missed your chance in the first 7 seconds. If it’s important to you, you’ll have many more seconds to try again.
Why are some people more confident and courageous than others?
This is a question I regularly get asked and the answer is a combination of biology, upbringing, society and choice.
The choice element is the biggest influence on courage and confidence. Whether you choose to be positive and take risks or to stay in your comfort zone.
You can choose to build your confidence by challenging yourself, but you can also become more courageous by avoiding certain behaviours.
These are my top 6 behaviours that confident and courageous people don’t do:
They don’t try to please everyone all the time. Being kind and thoughtful is obviously important. But ignoring your own wants and needs to keep others happy will only knock your self-esteem and confidence
They don’t worry about things that are out of their control. Rather than ‘what if’ worrying about the future or being anxious about experiences in the past, which they can’t change. Confident and courageous people focus on the present and on things which are within their circle of influence
They don’t avoid new and challenging opportunities. This doesn’t mean they don’t have self-doubts or feel nervous. But they have the courage to know whatever happens they can deal with it
They don’t get stuck on self-pity. Like all of us, they do sometimes feel sorry for themselves. however, even when life feels unfair they are able to move forward
They don’t spend time with negative people. They realise how draining these people can be that constantly complain or see the negative side of life. Instead, they surround themselves with friends and colleagues who leave them feeling positive and energised
They don’t need others approval. We all like to receive positive feedback sometimes, but confident and courageous people have enough self-belief and trust to make their own decisions and stand by them
How confident and courageous are feeling today?
Choose one of the behaviours from above that you recognise and challenge yourself to let it go this week. You’ll be surprised at the positive effect it will have.