One of the most basic and powerful tools we have is our individual voice. The voice is capable of multifaceted communication, conveying not just content but tone, depth and authority.
It’s important to speak with authority on the job and in other professional settings, but it isn’t always easy to do. If that’s something you struggle with, take these tips from Practically Perfect PA’s Nicky Christmas.
- Accept that you belong. “Once you are in the room, recognize that you belong there,” said Christine Jahnke, a speech coach and the author of The Well-Spoken Woman. This is the first step to speaking with confidence and authority.
- Decide what you’re going to say in advance. This can help nix the unnecessary “ums” and “ers” that can leave your audience unimpressed.
- Slow down. Use a measured pace and remember to breathe as you speak.
- Show your sense of humor. Showing your personality and sense of humor convey a sense of security in what you’re saying and can inspire the trust that allows others to make a connection with you.
- Stay within your boundaries. You might be tempted to fill in a lack of knowledge with an excess of speech, but restrain yourself. Stick to the tasks and decisions you definitely have control over.
- Remember silence is golden. Nervous talking won’t convince anyone of your professional credibility. Make your point and then stop talking. If you are asked an opinion and need to pause before answering while you gather your thoughts, you’re signaling that your thoughtful response is worth waiting for.
— Adapted from “Speaking with Authority at Work,” Nicky Christmas, Practically Perfect PA.