19 communications tips for building your confidence at work

by | Dec 5, 2023 | Public Relations

Strong communication and self-assurance are crucial for workplace success. Developing these skills boosts your influence and allows you to voice ideas powerfully whether you’re delivering a presentation or sitting in a brainstorming session. Whether you lead projects or work collaboratively in a team, there are proven ways to become a more confident, compelling communicator: 

Prepare thoroughly for meetings and presentations

Knowing you are fully prepared gives you the confidence to contribute in a way that will help other people in the room. Clarify your objectives, read any provided materials, and note questions and ideas to share before your meetings. If you’re leading a session, plan an agenda with smooth transitions between items. One of the most essential presentation training skills is that preparation helps to stave off anxious second-guessing. 

Listen fully to colleagues

Confident communicators listen intently without interruption, demonstrate understanding through thoughtful questions, and acknowledge others’ expertise. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk—let conversations flow naturally. Focused listening builds rapport and credibility. Avoid finishing others’ sentences. 

Own your perspective

Using phrases like “in my experience” or “my take on this is” demonstrates self-assurance in sharing views while respecting that differing opinions may exist. You add value through unique insights. Acknowledge where unsure but don’t undercut your perspective with excessive qualifiers like “this could be wrong but…” 

Establish your baseline, then improve

Objectively assess your current communication strengths and growth areas through feedback or recorded observations. Be specific—“I use filler words like um frequently” vs. generalized self-criticism. Your baseline highlights skills to refine through conscious effort. Tracking progress fuels motivation. 

Get comfortable with small talk

As much as small talk may feel pointless, casual workplace conversations about harmless topics like weekends, sports or weather cultivate rapport. Start practicing innocuous chit-chat before meetings or in the kitchen. Building familiarity and connections makes more serious discussions a lot less intimidating.  

Adopt an “I can” mindset

Negative self-talk like “I’ll just stay quiet” or “They won’t listen to me” triggers a pessimistic cycle. Silence your inner critic with affirmations: “I have valuable insights to share” or “I communicate clearly and competently”. Fostering a constructive inner voice builds everyday confidence. 

Focus on the individuals in the room

When nervousness strikes before presenting or joining a large meeting, redirect attention from the intimidating group to connecting with individuals. Make appropriate eye contact as you speak. Think of engaging each person rather than facing the crowd as a whole. It’s a lot easier to relax when you’re thinking about speaking directly to someone instead of a faceless mass! 

Prepare an elevator pitch about yourself

Distill your background, accomplishments, and goals into a succinct “elevator pitch” to share comfortably when meeting colleagues. Outline your current role and projects plus past experience concisely and confidently. Having your spiel ready provides confidence in professional interactions. 

Avoid apologizing excessively

Saying sorry frequently for minor things undercuts your gravitas and sounds insecure. Limit apologies to genuine mistakes – don’t reflexively say sorry for making requests, expressing opinions respectfully or forgetting small details. Correct yourself and move forward without hand wringing. 

Think about a presentation training skills course

For those lacking confidence in public speaking, presentation skills courses deliver proven techniques to engage audiences calmly and compellingly. Learn strategies for crafting memorable content, handling nerves and projecting authority nonverbally. Investment in these teachable skills pays dividends. A presentation training course can help you feel more confident and relaxed. A room full of people won’t seem so intimidating! And, if you’re thinking about working on your confidence more holistically, consider joining a self-esteem course.

Don’t downplay your work

Building confidence means taking pride in achievements without diminishing them in others’ presence through excessive modesty. Instead of minimizing a major project as “just this little thing I’ve been working on”, embrace the opportunity to share insights about accomplishments. Let your work speak for itself. 

Project positive body language

You should avoid crossed arms, hunched shoulders, or a downward gaze, even if you’re nervous. They give people the impression that you’re withdrawn. Instead, claim your space by sitting tall, holding your head high and maintaining attentive posture. Keep facial expressions pleasant yet serious. Your poise affects how others engage. 

Ask questions without apology

Phrase queries assertively, not as tentative afterthoughts with self-deprecating caveats like, “This may be a silly question but…”. Own your right to ask for clarification or insight. Say “I have a question” versus “I was wondering if maybe I could ask something?” It’s a simple change, but it has a real impact. 

Pick communication channels carefully

Certain communication modes build connections better than others. Choose the channel that fits your message and audience. Quick updates suit email and in-depth discussions work better in video meetings. For sensitive topics, talk in person. Strategic style choices boost understanding. 

Familiarize yourself with data and details

Participating with authority requires you to understand key information. Get to know the relevant data on your team or company performance inside out. Read past meeting notes and backgrounders to internalize contextual details. Great communicators absorb facts allowing informed debate, not just opinions.  

Speak with passion on key points

On critical topics where you have strong views, don’t hedge by minimizing your perspective. Passion conveys conviction and builds agreement when arguments resonate. Just ensure passion does not become overzealousness. People will notice if it does! 

Develop an audience-focused mindset

Effective communicators think continually about listener needs – their knowledge, priorities, and concerns around topics. Weave in an explanation of industry terms colleagues may not know. Welcome their input. Audiences should feel you speak with them in mind, not just to deliver your agenda regardless of resonance. 

Learn from the best communicators

Notice colleagues who communicate naturally with gravitas, empathy, and eloquence. Analyze what makes them skilled—word choices, pacing, body language. Emulate their rhetorical techniques and ability to read the room. Finding worthy mentors accelerates your own improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips either! 

Remember names

We all struggle with this one sometimes! However, using colleagues’ names demonstrates an active interest in them while building connections. Suppose you struggle with name recall and research memorisation techniques. When first introduced, repeat their name conversationally. Jot notes after meetings to solidify names with faces in your memory. Getting names right makes people feel valued. 

Final thoughts

Communication skills require regular practice and a growth mindset, but everyone can develop greater workplace confidence through preparation, self-awareness, and audience-centered techniques. A sustained effort to continually improve pays dividends for your career through increased influence and visibility. Keep pushing forward.

Emily Roberts
Emily Roberts is a young writer who is passionate about literature and blog writing.