Want to communicate with confidence? Confident communication is an essential skill, for employees and business owners alike. Whether you’re leading a multi-national corporation, growing a small business, or hoping to climb the corporate ladder and advance your career, how confidently you can communicate can help or hinder your success.
It’s all too easy to get communication wrong. Things can get lost in translation. Something that was intended to be taken one way is understood in another.
The Secret To Confident Communication
The fact is that good communication creates lasting relationships both personally and professionally.
Get it right, and those relationships will be successful. Get it wrong and the consequences can be damaging for your business, career, or even your relationships.
This knowledge can pile on the pressure. But here’s something to keep in mind:
Communication isn’t really about you at all.
As soon as you recognize this, confident communication will become far easier.
Three Simple Steps
There are 3 key ingredients to communicating with confidence. All 3 steps outlined are essential and the sequence is very important. Curiosity earns you the right to be empathetic and empathy earns you the right to ask.
Your job is to use your own emotional intelligence to blend the right proportion of these ingredients to deliver the results you require.
Once you’ve mastered and understood these simple 3 steps, building lasting relationships becomes super easy to achieve.
Showing up to a conversation with certainty often creates uncertainty.
Ironic isn’t it?
Try to keep in mind that the intention of your conversation should always be for the benefit of the other person first and foremost.
Raining a load of advice on someone will almost certainly be met with resistance.
Be curious. Genuinely curious. By asking questions and actively listening to their replies, you make them the star of the conversation. You show a willingness to learn about the situation from their perspective.
Remaining curious for just long enough allows the other person to truly explore their reality. Thus allowing you AND them to gain an understanding of their current circumstances.
To borrow a quote from Jon Acuff: “Demonstrating empathy means caring about what the other people you care about, care about.’”
Sharing your ideas and helping people to see things from a new perspective is powerful. But if you go into a situation failing to see something from someone else’s point of view, you will create resistance.
Leave your ego at the door – as mentioned earlier, this isn’t really about you.
Talk exclusively about their interests, not yours. Understand their ideas, their experience, and their point of view.
Once you demonstrate empathy, all that work will trigger the ‘show me that you know me’ button in the other person. They will at last feel understood and, more importantly, that you understand them.
Courage is displayed in many ways. The courage needed for confident communication isn’t the climb up a mountain or jump out of a plane kind of courage.
It’s the courage to ask difficult questions at the right time. The courage to take action.
Fear can prevent you from asking difficult questions. However, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of asking the right question at the completely wrong time.
Asking those hard questions before laying the groundwork from steps 1 and 2, will make getting those positive results even harder.
If you’ve followed the steps effectively, asking the hard questions will feel easy. They’ll land right because you’ve drawn on all that knowledge that you’ve learned about them and their situation. You can suggest X because of the fact they’ve already said Y.
Continue to Dance
Try to imagine the 3 steps as a continuous dance.
Successful communication doesn’t just drive you to a finish line. It’s not a linear process
What you should be looking to achieve is a kind of never-ending story, dancing effectively back and forth between the 3 key ingredients.
Remember, curiosity is the safest space from which you can communicate. Curiosity has unlocked any potential friction and put you on the same side.
This exploration of asking questions allows the other person to conclude ‘they really get me!’ And that’s because you understand their circumstances and needs so completely.
Continue the dance with curiosity. It leads effortlessly to empathy and eventually you’ll create the kind of relationship where hard questions can be asked and received in the best way possible.