Strong enough for a strong speech? If so, don’t read here…
Leadership is communication. It does not matter what you do, if you are a director, team leader, CEO of a company, project manager, effective communication it the tool you need in order to achieve your professional goals. If you are not able to explain your visions, explain tasks, share ideas, moderate discussions, solve conflicts, convince others, give feedback, just to mention some aspects, your work as a leader is not worth it.
It is not only important what we say, as everybody knows it is much more important how we say it. I am not only talking about the tone of the voice (see my past blog). You can notice assertiveness in a body posture, gesture and mimic.
Assertiveness is an art, no doubt. You can consider your needs as more than important, but also taking others’ needs and interests into consideration. This is the essence of assertiveness.
How can you communicate “strong” and “assertive”? How can you interact with others without making the impression of being arrogant?
- Avoid words and sentences that show your insecurity, when you are sure of what you are saying or when you want to transmit self-confidence. An easy example should explain this phenomenon. Let’s take “This is an interesting project, isn’t it?” Adding the “isn’t it?” at the end, shows that you need support and confirmation from the other person. Do it if you want them to participate more in your decisions making process, but when it comes to convince others and show your point, do not use sentences or words that are making your position weaker.
- Avoid saying “I think” or “I believe” when you know it. If you know it, than you do not think it. As to say: “I think I can do it for tomorrow” is different from “I can do it for tomorrow”.
- Say your sentences without filling words that are expressing less than nothing. This includes also sounds and all the “aah” that we hear sometimes when unsure people are talking. Be direct, use main sentences, be clear and objective.
- Keep straight shoulders, do not sit as you were relaxing, keep your body present and orientated to your speech partner through a straight posture. This type of posture shows interest, respect and can be used every time you are considering the other person’s point of view.
- Keep your arms open and visible, do not hide them in your trousers’ pockets or under the table. This shows that the other person can come to you closer metaphorically and this keep the dialogue going.
- Use a strong voice, use a medium-low pitch, not too high, not too low. This shows competence and different studies show that people with this kind of pitch are perceived as more intelligent.
- Do not interrupt others, let them speak, do not listen in order to answer, listen to understand. It is not important what is going on in your head: switch off your internal radio, listen empathetically and try to understand the others’ point of view. Good listening skills are the most important skills for an effective communicator.
- Avoid caressing or touching objects talking to others. Stay focused on your partner.
Strong speech is a matter of effective wording, listening skills and nonverbal communication awareness. But above all is about attitude and self-confidence.
To know more read Speaking as a Leader