The Gift Of The Gab: Why confident communication is crucial

Anna Nathanson

public speaking 300x225 The Gift Of The Gab: Why confident communication is crucial

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Presentation and Voice Coach Lisa Åkesson specialises in teaching people how to communicate with confidence and credibility. Here she tells us why coming across with gravitas is so essential, and shares some tips on what you can do to really make an impact.

“There are so many statistics that support the notion that it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes the biggest impact. The body and the voice can reveal so much and if we can connect into that and know how to utilise it, then it can really serve us. Otherwise, it just shows up what’s hiding underneath.

First impressions are crucially important. Neuroscience has proven that we make a judgement in something like a twentieth of a second. It might be the case that the initial perception may change over time if they build a relationship with you, but the point is, you might not get that chance.

A lot of time companies send people to me and they have all the right credentials, but they don’t move up the career ladder simply because they are not taken seriously be their team. They are highly skilled and experienced, yet they’re stuck being perceived in a certain way and it holds them back.

Rapport building, tuning into the other person, mirroring and matching their body language and tonality, really hearing where they’re coming from and connecting with them; all these things are so important. There are some practical things one can do, such as breathing and accessing your full posture, engaging the centred voice, being able to use the width and the length of the posture, and really being able to take time, to pause and connect with where you are rather than going on a spiralling rush. When we change our physiology it changes how we feel, and science has now proven this; if we stand up straight and expand, we feel more confident and more empowered.

A very simple practical exercise involves standing flat footed on the ground, rocking from your heels to your toes a couple of times like a pendulum, and you will notice your weight is a lot more centred. Then close your eyes and imagine you have roots growing to the centre of the earth. This will transfer your energy to a different place and make you feel and appear more grounded.

Public speaking is a real fear for a lot of people, that sense of being judged can be terrifying. When communicating a message whether it’s to a group or individual, it’s best to stick to three key points that you want to leave them with. Including a story which illustrates your message is very effective, and lastly, a call to action; what do you want them to take from you that they can start utilising straight away? It’s also worth considering the energy you’re bringing and bearing in mind that that’s the energy you want them to tap into, whether that’s enthusiasm or seriousness; it will depend on the listener, so it’s important to know your audience.

A lot of people don’t really prioritise working on their communication, yet it’s the first thing people see. I’m amazed how people invest in so much else without realising that the icing on the cake is how you come across.”

Lisa Åkesson is a certified voice coach and master NLP practitioner. She trains actors for TV, film and theatre and also uses these tools in the corporate world. She also runs leadership workshops for women.

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