Only 7% of any message we want to communicate comes from our words, so we need to make sure that we sound more confident at work.
Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organised and on the right track.
As someone who coaches women to make a confident impact in the workplace; communication and language are key to me. I spend a significant amount of time supporting clients to learn the most effective ways to convey messages.
I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.
Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:
1. Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning People Down
For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.
Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is far more successful than the other.
When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.
For example, if you’re asked to take on a new responsibility that really doesn’t suit your talents or have any benefit to your career, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I can’t take on the extra work now,” say, “I appreciate the opportunity, but I don’t have the available time at the moment due to my other priorities.
By phrasing your response to sound more confident, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your work.
2. Stop Writing “Sorry for not replying earlier” in Emails
In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”
Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.
Why are we so eager to apologise for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.
Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for not replying earlier” say, “Thank you for your patience.” Or include more detail such as: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”
This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.
3. Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”
How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy days?
While that’s unlikely to change, we can improve the way we describe our activities.
When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.
Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly, state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m travelling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”
People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes to sound more confident, will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them.
If you’d like to discuss other ways to communicate in a confident and impactful way, do book a free call with me at www.speakwithjo.com
Live confidently and courageously