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How can you improve your communication skills and be more confident?

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Madisyn’s Answer

Boosting your communication skills and enhancing your confidence is all about practice! Mastering public speaking and learning to express your thoughts clearly and succinctly may take some time. Initially, you might feel a bit anxious about communicating, but remember, the more you engage, the better you'll become!
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Gillian’s Answer

Enhancing your communication skills requires consistent practice and experience. But remember, being confident and being effective in communication are two different aspects, and ideally, you should aim for both. Here are some simple yet powerful guidelines that I follow, which you might find beneficial:

(1) Be brief and concise - In today's fast-paced world, time is invaluable. So, respect other people's time. If you're preparing a presentation, draft your speech beforehand and then make several attempts to condense and simplify it. Make sure to explain any acronyms or project names to ensure everyone understands your message. Don't assume your audience has the same knowledge as you do. Identify and clarify any potential areas of confusion in your narrative.

(2) Promote interactive discussions and listen attentively - Encourage dialogue and seek other people's views during conversations and presentations. Ask for their thoughts on your ideas, plans, or situations and when they respond, listen attentively and validate their perspectives thoughtfully. Avoid rushing to your next point without acknowledging their input.

(3) Understand your audience beforehand - Empathize with your audience. Understand why they're present, their current situations, their cultural background, time-zone, and the problems they're trying to solve. This understanding will help you connect with your audience on a more profound level.

(4) Narrate a story - This could be an intriguing tale that grabs their attention or simply a well-structured narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Remember, we are all humans and storytelling is innate to us. We all connect with a good, especially personal, story.
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Megan’s Answer

I always tell my students that say they need to work on communication to start small in public. When going to the grocery store instead of the self-check out- go to a cashier and talk to them. Instead of the ATM go to the teller at the bank. Make phone calls like doctor appointments or calling to ask a store questions.

Take communications or public speaking if you can to help build your confidence.

Look for part time jobs like being a camp counselor or something that involves public speaking.

I hope this helps!
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Laura’s Answer

Good communication is mainly listening. Most of us are so nervous about talking that we forget to listen. A great thing to ask is always: Tell me more or Tell me why that's a concern for you or Tell me what you need.

People think there is a big difference between "presenting" and having a conversation and there really isn't. When I'm on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people - I just key in on specific people and talk to them. I ask questions and let people interact, even if it's only to raise their hands. Remember that every person is just listening for "what's in this for me" or "how does this apply to me". Being nervous is natural - just be nervous and keep talking :).
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Joseph’s Answer

Communicating and speaking is one of those things that seems scary because people don't give themselves credit for all the ways they do it. You probably speak in groups and communicate all the time without thinking about it. Just keep finding ways to practice so you feel comfortable. Look for opportunities to speak up, whether that's making a formal speech or doing something informal in a situation where you feel in control. Any form of putting yourself out there, even performing in a play or telling jokes, can help you get into the right mindset. Then the important thing wen you do speak or communicate in any forum, even email, is to pay attention to how people react and you can keep improving. Practice really makes perfect.
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Reem’s Answer

Practice and seek feedback. Joining a local or virtual Toastmasters International chapter or other public speaking organization can help. It will help you gain communication tactics for a variety of scenarios and target audiences, and it will make you more confident at impromptu and public speaking. If you do join, please attend their meetings regularly and sign up for as many speaking opportunities as possible. Good luck!
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Emma’s Answer

In high school/college, I was considered "shy." And now I help manage a team of copywriters who's sole job is communicating the relevant/helpful information to our company's audience (college students)! The best way to work on your communication skills and gain confidence along the way, is with practice. And yes, that means putting yourself in maybe some uncomfortable situations, that require you to step outside your comfort zone. The scariest class I ever took in college was a public speaking course, and it ended being so worthwhile! Another, perhaps more tactical piece of advice, is to read or practice your writing/communication out loud. Yes, it feels silly, but you'd be amazed what "fluff" or unnecessary words get snuck into our dialogue. After reading your email draft, your speech, your pitch (whatever it may be) out loud a few times, you'll be left with a concise, articulate piece of communication. I still do this today - in my professional writing and personal, too!
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Jen’s Answer

The best advice I've ever gotten about presenting is this: They'll never know what you forgot to say.

It's such a freeing concept! While in your brain you may be thinking "shoot, I didn't say that thing I had practiced a hundred times" your audience is blissfully unaware!

Lots of good advice already on this thread so I'll keep mine short. I still struggle with presenting but I just keep at it. You're gonna do great!
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Todd’s Answer

The best advice I can provide here is to intentionally listen before giving feedback or sharing your thoughts. Let colleagues share their entire thoughts before agreeing or chiming in with your own experience or guidance. That’s peer to peer or leader to peer. As far as targeted or enterprise communications, focus on being clear and succinct, share the meat of the message early, create a clear headline, address what’s important to the audience (do your research), use emotional intelligence to connect and build trust. And be transparent…talk about known concerns and clarify known rumors. Ultimately, there’s limited time and attention audiences will give to messages, so make yours appealing and easy to consume.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Even I grapple with this challenge, but I've discovered some methods that help. When it comes to public speaking or presentations, I make sure to prepare well in advance, rehearse my speech aloud multiple times, and familiarize myself thoroughly with the content. This way, I feel more at ease when it's time to deliver.

As for written communication, I always aim to keep it simple and straightforward. I believe in the power of brevity, using the minimum number of words to convey the message effectively. This approach not only makes the writing clear but also ensures the reader understands it easily. Remember, less is often more when it comes to communication!
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