This is advice I often give people who want to develop their assertiveness.
It means standing strong with confident body language; communicating your point clearly and concisely; and then – crucially – zipping it, rather than going on and on.
A trait of many passive communicators is to over-explain, in the misguided belief the extra (and often excessive) information makes them sound more knowledgeable and adds weight to what they’re saying.
Unfortunately, this rambling style of speaking around an issue, without getting to the point, does exactly the opposite: It lessens your authority and people’s confidence in you.
Next time you need to raise an issue or put forward your opinion, think about what you want to say beforehand. Ask yourself what it’s really about. What is your key message? How would you explain it to a mate at a barbecue?
Get clear on your message and then deliver it by standing tall and speaking small.
Give enough information to get your point across confidently and then be ready to answer questions or engage in further conversation.
If you’re not sure what you want to say or can’t summarise it succinctly, you’re not ready to have the conversation yet.
Do the thinking first, then stand tall, speak small, and watch your communication – and the respect people have for you – flourish.
Leah Mether is a communications specialist, trainer, speaker and Director of Methmac Communications. She helps businesses, organisations and individuals improve and deliver their communications and step up for success. Leah runs a wide range of workshops and training in effective communication, public speaking, overcoming self-doubt,media relations, removing roadblocks to success, networking,time management and happiness. To find out more, visit www.methmac.com.au.