Is confidently speaking with ease with most people hard or easy for you? Want to learn to speak and influence like those that you admire?
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I’m sure you have all watched people you admire, in awe of their “people skills”. How comfortably their speaking with ease draws people to them, right? Are they inborn and inbred or learned and practiced skills?
I’ve learned that success in this area starts with confidence; based on belief in yourself and knowing who you are, what you want, and what you love being good at. A confidence that comes from lots of trying, practicing and failing as you figure out what works best for you and your personality (and agendas). That takes time and energy building awareness and then developing the right approaches and outcomes. Goal setting forms part of that. The rest comes from “having a go” and building momentum.
Speaking With Ease. Debunking some myths
Only extroverts can do that. Really? Well, as I wrote recently a study showed that only 49.3% of people in the sample were extroverts. And if you read Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”, you’ll learn that introverts actually have huge advantages over extroverts in terms of their ability to “attract people towards them”. You can learn how to do this irrespective of your orientation.
English isn’t my first language. A growing proportion of our Australian population falls into this category. My experience has been that the factors that differentiate ordinary from superior communication rely much less on the spoken language than everybody thinks. Only 7% of our communication is dependent on our words. The remaining 93%, also called our non-verbal language, are influenced by our gesture and animation (38%) and posture or body language (55%). So learning to apply and emphasize these non-verbals is what makes all the difference. I know that everybody can do that. This is what I teach most.
I don’t have the confidence they do. Yes, I truly understand this one. Public speaking is supposedly the #1 fear of most people. My experience however has been that it is the willingness of someone to make themselves “teachable” to overcome this “fear” that matters. It may take a little longer, but the results in seeing people progressively speaking with ease have been superb.
I’m so much younger than them. While age and “life experience” can contribute to more confident communication, age really has no bearing. My clients range from early 20’s to “very late” and it is their hunger to learn and practice and develop their relatability, their ability to connect and their influence, irrespective of age that matters.
Languages were never my strength. Like the introvert / extrovert myth, it is our ability to work with our strengths as we develop some allies that creates good communicators. Things like being curious and interested or interesting in / to others. Like asking good questions to direct the conversation to what matters to them, so they keep talking (preferably about themselves) so you can listen, empathize, relate and support (sell) them in that. This works on the principle of “if I can help you get what you want, I’ll most probably get what I want“.
I have a back-office role. Yep, so did I for most of my silo’d and then executive career. The simple mind-switch? Consider and treat everyone that my function worked with to be a customer, as any front-office person would. And then teach your people the same attitude. This is a choice.
I don’t have the time. Forgive the raised eyebrows please. This classically overused cop-out prevails everywhere there are grumbles. Where and how you invest your time and energy is a choice. Let me ask you: “when will the pain of staying the same become greater than the perceived pain of change?“. Well, how much do you want to be known for speaking with ease? Go on, on a scale of 1-10?
Speaking With Ease. So What?
Everything I’ve learned and now coach and write about came from being curious, interested, reading, listening and watching and then practicing. Doing. Failing. Re-trying. As Gary Player said so well: “the harder I practice, the luckier I get“.
So let’s ask the so-what question again: how much do you want to be known for speaking with ease? What will it buy you that you aspire to? What’s it going to take for you to make a decision, set a goal, find someone to hold you accountable and then “just do it“? Imagine how you’ll feel when you yourself notice what others are saying to be true of you: “he or she is so good at speaking with ease“. And do you know how much this puts others at ease?
francoise Garnier says
I could have done with the help of a coach when I was forced to come out from the safety of my desk and old back room job! Having been known for years as “The TV without sound”, I did not find it easy to move from that silent state to actively participating in meetings, doing presentations to audiences of all sizes, hierarchy levels, handling difficult conversations etc… I had to find my own ways, tricks and actual skills along this challenging journey. It was very fortunate that I worked for many years in companies and with bosses who pushed people to grow and stretched them outside their comfort zone in a reasonably supportive context. A formal coaching program would have reduced the pain on many occasions.
Heiner Karst says
Thanx Francoise, your comments are so valid for so many people in business today. There simply aren’t enough leaders that take this stretching, growing and coaching approach seriously enough.