Do you sound weak? In this video, I give you examples of unconfident speaking styles. These are expressions people use when lacking in confidence about themselves and their opinions. We will be looking at indirect language: speaking with disclaimers, evading opinions, making oneself small, being doubtful of oneself, and being afraid to speak one’s mind. While it is sometimes necessary to communicate in an indirect way for the sake of politeness, it’s important to know how to speak in a more confident way too. When you communicate in a confident way, you are able to lead other people and to make a good impression. Learn about unconfident speaking styles in order to stop sounding weak!
The quality of your life reflects the quality of your communication, and in particular, your speech. When I go out into the real world I am often struck by how poorly people are able to communicate and express themselves. The general standard of speaking I hear around me is low and stunted. I would go further to say that the quality of these people’s lives is low and stunted, as symbolised by their inability to communicate. They are very much used to being incompetent communicators, AND, it seems, have no desire to change that.
Signs of Incompetent Communication
Inability to Listen — I regularly encounter people who have no listening skills. They can’t follow the thread of a conversation. Instead, they talk over people and change the subject. A person who does this is UNABLE to relate to another person because they are incapable of giving others true attention.
Mouth Covering — Some people cover their mouths when they speak. It gives the impression of anxiety and also that they are trying to hide. It also makes them harder to hear, and most people won’t put in the effort to hear them because it requires too much ear-strain.
Only Slang — Slang has its time and place in communication, but people who can only speak slang dialects demonstrate a lack of intelligence. It’s hard for me to imagine anyone giving these people a job.
Mumbling — Mumblers don’t open their mouths much when they speak, therefore the sounds come out unclearly. It gives the impression of being (a) mentally slow or (b) very low in energy.
No English — I used to live abroad in a country where I tried and failed to learn the language. Due to the fact I failed, I went home. If you can’t speak the language and you intend to live somewhere permanently, the quality of your life will be extremely poor, you will be isolated, and you will live totally apart from the culture of the place. People failing to learn the language of the country they move to is extremely common, but yet, so many people stay even if it means that they are mute.
Not making any sense — some people have the appearance of being able to speak, but the content of what they are saying makes no sense. It’s all disconnected and random and is draining to listen to.
The above list features just some of the signs of incompetent communication I regularly encounter in the course of my daily life. For most of these people there is no help possible as they really don’t care about their speaking ability.
BIOGRAPHY – My Journey
I am not a naturally gifted speaker but I am someone who has worked extremely hard to get where I am today. I consider speech to be both my greatest weakness and my biggest strength in life. When I was a child mutism was a big issue for me; I couldn’t talk even if I wanted to in situations where I felt uncomfortable or shy. In fact, I do still suffer from mutism, but improving my speaking skills as a result of making over 500 YouTube videos and changing my lifestyle in ways that suit my introverted personality means that it happens much less often nowadays.
Speaking for me is full of contradictions: in some situations I close up like a clam and can’t say a word, and in other situations I can’t shut up! At school I always sat at the front of the class and put my hand up for every question, and at university I happily engaged in debates with lecturers and students alike, often dominating seminars with my outspoken opinions (I graduated with a First Class degree in English Literature). Another contradiction: while I can give a spontaneous talk lasting an hour to a crowd of 200 people with relative ease, I sometimes feel painfully awkward when saying ‘thank you’ to a cashier in a shop.
The English language and its words have always been an imaginative escape for me. When I was little I would even get absorbed reading the back of the shampoo bottle while having a bath: ‘Aqua, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate…’. Another fixation I had at around ten years old was reading every entry in my giant Oxford English Dictionary until I finished it.
My fascination with the English language began with reading words, though over time this has changed into the sounds of words and voices speaking words. The sounds of speech, word choice, the presence or absence of vocal ticks and the position of a person’s voice is something that to me carries layers upon layers of normally hidden information. When I hear a voice now, I can peer into a person’s psychology, like an x-ray machine. However, I limit those kinds of observations as doing so and talking about what I find is snooping and boundary violation, unless I have been specifically asked to read a person in that way.
A big failure for me is that so far my talent for language does not extend to actually speaking any foreign languages beyond the basics. While my ear can quickly pick up a language when it comes to understanding what is going on, my tongue is frozen unless I am completely comfortable. I lived in Turkey for two and a half years and during that time I can only recall one conversation where I felt comfortable enough that I let go and actually spoke Turkish, absolutely astounding myself that I could speak the language, for once! The rest of the time either my mind was blank or I would awkwardly deflect attempts at conversation with short, automatic answers. Before living in Turkey I did encounter instances of foreign language mutism in myself but it was definitely not on such an impossible and frustrating level. If there can be any positives to take away from this experience of personal failure, I know how to make people who have a tendency to mutism when speaking English comfortable and how to get them speaking when normally they can’t say a word. When this has happened in the past it has been immensely fulfilling to give another person the gift of speech over mutism. It’s a wonderful gift and I wish I could give it to myself so I could speak foreign languages too!
In terms of my own voice and speaking skills, this is something that continues to evolve. Whereas I used to be motivated to eliminate my personal speech difficulties so I did not have to face them anymore, now I am much more accepting of what makes my own speech unique. This is also shown in that nowadays I am much more compelled towards being authentic rather than perfect in the way that I present myself in videos. My view is that with persistence speech difficulties can be overcome and triumphed over, though not all of the battles we face are worth the strain of a long, hard fight. So I recommend that you choose your battles wisely.
And lastly, I hope that as a teacher I fill you with knowledge, make you think, and give you inspiration to speak.
Guest Post by Ian Luebbers – learn how to build a powerful presence so that when you speak, people listen.
Introverts sometimes get called out for being quiet and still. We speak only when necessary. We focus only on what’s really important. We despise fluff.
Guest who else shares these qualities?
Kings. CEO’s. Leaders. All powerful people possess these qualities in abundance.
So why don’t all introverts appear to posses a deep stillness? It turns out, it takes practice and conscious effort to cultivate powerful qualities. But all introverts have the potential to unleash their inner leader. All that’s necessary is a little practice.
How to Unleash Your Inner Leader When Speaking
The quickest way to unleash your inner power is to perform a quick power pose. Here’s how it works:
Set at timer for three minutes. Then spread your legs into a wide stance, puff up your chest, and try to make yourself as huge as possible. You are the big gorilla defending your territory. You are Godzilla. Stretch your arms out wide. Stand in a superman pose. Pose like a general surveying a battlefield. Take up space and feel confidence shoot through your veins.
Studies have shown that the above exercise can dramatically improve confidence and reduce stress in a matter of minutes. Another easy exercise that will dramatically boost your confidence is a quick visualization:
Find somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Then recall a time in your life when you felt absolutely victorious – like you were on top of the world. Maybe it was the time you scored a game-winning point as a child. Maybe it was when you finally earned that long-awaited promotion. Recall the event in vivid detail – how it felt, what it smelled like, who was there – and let yourself enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.
This exercise will make you feel like you are on top of the world. By the time you finish, you will feel incredibly confident and powerful, and whenever you open your mouth you’ll notice a marked difference in the way you speak.
There’s one more exercise that works like magic when it comes to boosting your power and confidence. It’s a little bit more involved, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s how it works:
Full Day of Stillness
Pick a day that you want to feel powerful. On that day, do everything as slowly and deliberately as possible. It may feel strange at first, but after a few minutes, you notice that moving slowly instills you with a deep feeling of empowerment. Eat food slowly and savor each bite. Talk a little more slowly than usual. Instead of checking your phone while waiting, just stand or sit in silence. Be still. Be deliberate. Before long, you’ll reconnect with a powerful side of yourself that you may not even have known you possessed.
The above activity has huge effects, so don’t take it lightly. It can have a tremendous effect on the way you carry yourself and the way you speak.
Next time you have a party, or a presentation, or a date, try out one of these exercises. You might just be surprised at how quickly you get in touch with your inner executive. After all, you’re not developing any new skills. You’re just taking your natural affinity for stillness and transforming it into power. Now get out there and be a leader.