There are many factors which influence confidence. It may be useful to accept there will be times we lack confidence. It is part of being human. Those times of lacking confidence help us understand those around us who have similar feelings of inadequacy. Having said that, there certainly are ways we can appear more confident and that will have the effect of making us feel more confident.
As a child I felt I needed to be quiet and blend in with those around me. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by being loud and outspoken. If others had a different opinion my first reaction was to think I was wrong. I would think hard about the other point of view and see if I could find validity in it. I would be hesitant about stating my viewpoint.
A friend who is about 10 years younger than me says her mother told her, ‘Be loud, be proud.’ She was taught to say what she thought and to do so loudly. Interestingly, as an adult I don’t think she is any more confident than I am. She is more likely to be outspoken, however.
As a middle aged woman I still give consideration to the views of others. However, I am now more likely to put forward my point of view but in a balanced way, giving credit to what others think. I don’t automatically question my judgement and point of view anymore.
Sometimes I enjoy a discussion where people throw in all sorts of views, challenging the usually accepted viewpoints. It gives those involved in the discussion the opportunity to really explore ideas. Sometimes I will modify my ideas because of the ideas others have expressed.
Here are five ways to share your ideas verbally with confidence:
1. Speak slowly so others can hear what you are saying. It also makes you seem confident and that you have thought carefully before putting your thoughts into words. (Speaking quickly suggests you are nervous or in a hurry to get away.)
2. Don’t apologise for your opinions.
3. Don’t criticise yourself or talk yourself down. Don’t say something along the lines of, ‘I’m not very smart.’
4. Look others in the eye and smile, if appropriate. Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to smile and you could appear insincere or lacking in empathy.
5. Believe others will value your ideas.
Whether you are communicating by speaking or writing, remember everyone has the right to express their ideas. Others are usually interested to know what you think. Paul Coelho, a Brazilian lyricist and novelist said,’Writing means sharing. It's part of the human condition to want to share things - thoughts, ideas, opinions.’