Confidence is hugely tied to success, and we could all use a little more success right!? We present our confidence to the world through many different ways. Our clothing, posture, eye contact and handshake are a few of these ways. However, something we might forget is that the sound of our own voice reveals a lot about who we are. If confidence is being faked, our voice will be what betrays us.
I recently heard a presenter who spoke on love, but her presentation created anything but love inside me. I asked the lady sitting next to me what she thought about this specific presentation and her words reflected my own thoughts. “I didn’t really connect with her message. I don’t know why, but I tuned out really fast”! Although the presenters message was a great one, I knew exactly why we both felt this way. Her voice did not align with the message of love she presented. Her voice resonated deep in her throat and also had a touch of nasal sound quality which distracted from the message she was trying to convey. Her voice screamed a message of “I have a voice, but it’s trapped as a whiny child”. This mixed message created a result where the audience checked out…. because who enjoys listening to a child whine!?? This is exactly what happened in this scenario. Neither myself nor the person sitting next to me (and probably many others) subconsciously enjoyed listening to the mixed message. While the presenter felt she did a great job sharing her message and loves it immensely, she wonders why she didn’t have more enroll into what she was offering… or why participation was low. You as a presenter can feel when the audience has checked out. Allow the audience and those around you to teach you how your voice is coming across.
People subconsciously choose to follow those who have a confident and sure tone in their voice. It makes them feel safe. While we would all love to have a voice as grounded as Morgan Freeman or Kathleen Turner, the good news is that we CAN significantly change the tone of our voice and communicate our messages with clear understanding. It can be learned! I would love to share what I believe are a few of the biggest tips to growing confidence.
- Speak it into existence.
Action: On a daily basis pose to the mind that you are confident. Look in the mirror and say “I am confident”. Allow the emotions to fill you of what you believe a confident person might feel. Hearing the words out loud and feeling emotion is a powerful way to create how you want others to view you. Watch how your posture might change and how the voice gains more confidence as you practice.
- Imitate what confidence looks like to you.
Action: Who is your role model? Find that certain someone who has the confidence you desire and study what they wear, how they move, what kind of language they use, and the sound quality of their voice. You have likely imitated how you move, the language you choose, and voice tone from those closest to you as an act of survival. It’s now time to see if what you have imitated is generating the confidence to move you forward in the ways you desire.
- The more you speak, the more you speak.
Action: Practice as much as you can by allowing your voice to be heard. Make a commitment that you will share your ideas and thoughts with others once a week, making sure to take note of how your voice is being received. When an opportunity comes for you to practice speaking in front of others, use it!
As I first began to practice using my voice with the intention of observing how others reacted, it was quite the nerve-racking experience. In that moment where I knew it was time to practice and share my voice, my heart suddenly began to pound and all the moisture in my mouth magically dried up. I questioned if I were to raise my hand and be called upon, would any sound come out?? I pushed through and volunteered anyway. I did share my voice, but it was painful to push through as it shook and I fumbled with my words. I had such a hard time making sense of what I was trying to say. I thought to myself “Good grief Krystin, why is it so difficult sharing my voice with other people just like me? If it doesn’t improve I don’t know how much longer I can do this to myself?” Of course I began to see huge improvements. It began to move me forward in big ways. As I spoke my mind, others started to ask me my opinions on other topics outside of what I would share.
Your voice is an expression of who you are. When you start to freely share who you are with others, it builds rapport. People enjoy getting to know you and you in turn have started to build relationships which steer you in the direction of your own success. What a great way to plant the seed of confidence and watch it grow. The more you speak, the more you speak.