I work with quite a few clients who would like to feel more confident presenting and speaking up in meetings. I went to a talk recently by Robin Kermode, one of Europe’s leading coaches to CEOs, boards, and senior professionals, who spoke about bringing authority and personality to your work, and the best way to maximise the effect of personal communication and the secrets to confident speaking. A few of his tips are worth sharing if you’d like to feel more confident speaking up.
Tips from Robin Kermode
What does confidence look like anyway?
Instead of wondering what confidence looks like and how to be it, see it as just being yourself. Aim to bring forward your charisma and personality, sharing it with those you're around. That's all confidence is really. Be safe in the knowledge that we like, prefer and believe people when we consider their public person to be the same as their private one.
When we get nervous, our hands can shake. Apparently it's impossible to shake with your thighs and buttocks tightened. I’m yet to try this but worth a shot!
Believe in what you’re saying
Have belief in the opinion you’re expressing. Of course, leave room for people to disagree and hold an alternative opinion they believe in but remember that that doesn’t de-value yours in any way. Instead of feeling put down or criticised in any way, be curious about their opinion. Ask them to tell you more, how have they arrived at that conclusion? That type of thing. To be interesting is to be interested.
- Before your interview, get there early, pop to the bathroom and breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth three times to slow your heart rate down.
- To give yourself time to compose yourself and your answer, allow 2 seconds to pass before answering/starting your presentation to allow you and the people in the room to settle down and listen. Take a sip of water if that helps pass the time. Try not to just leap in with the first thing that comes to mind.
- Apparently, research shows you're 50% more likely to get the job if you put your hands above the table in an interview. Good tip!
The same goes as for interviews above, plus:
- Think of a headline to summarise what you're going to be talking about and start with this e.g. “I'm going to talk to you about/tell you why...”
- Once you’ve written your speech, re-write it in 50 words so you know the conviction and main points you want to make.
- Apparently, the last ten seconds of your talk are what people are most likely to remember to make sure you end by summing up your key message.
So, in a nutshell, be yourself, squeeze and breathe... I like it!
I admit I found some of the sessions quite challenging, mainly because they forced me to address some of those obstacles that I've felt have held me back and stopped me from really going after my dreams. The tools that Alice gave me have been really helpful, especially the tools which helped me to identify strengths and value sets. I also plan to work a lot more on my confidence issues and turning a negative mind set into a positive one. I’ve really enjoyed meeting and working with Alice over the past few months. She has a real talent for asking questions in a way that gets the best out of people and immediately puts you at ease.