Communicating with confidence is the difference between telling your boss that you need the day off and asking if it would be possible to take the day off. While you shouldn't act self-righteous or disrespect your superiors, it is important to take charge and act on what you need.
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It can be a hard to communicate with confidence, especially if you aren't used to actively telling people how you feel and what you need. However, once you learn how to communicate confidently, you'll notice an immediate difference in how others treat you – for the better.
1. Explain, Don't Ask
How would you react if someone asked you, "Can I take this day off? If it's too busy or you can't make it work, that's fine"?
You would probably check the schedule for that day before deciding whether or not to let that person take a day off.
Now, imagine they said this instead: "I need to take this day off because I have a personal obligation."
You'd probably act pretty differently, right? When you make a statement instead of posing a question, people tend to accept it. When you ask for a day off, you suggest it isn't a big deal if you can't take off. When you assert that you need a day off, people will assume it's important.
2. Know Your Value
I often see people undervaluing themselves and their success on their resumes. To communicate with confidence, you need to know your value. Don't let anyone undermine you or make you feel as though what you're communicating is unreasonable.
Try to always have concrete evidence backing up what you are communicating. Try to predict and plan for possible objections or concerns in advance. If you are confident in your statement, others will be, too.
3. Prepare Ahead of Time
The key to communicating with confidence is to prepare ahead of time. Very few people feel good about going into situations unprepared. Determine your strategy ahead of time and practice what you want to say so you feel comfortable and don't stumble. You may want to practice multiple times: The more you actually say what you want to say out loud, the more comfortable you will be.
Another way to prepare is to write down the pros and cons of your statement. This way you can acknowledge different viewpoints but still argue in your point's favor. Acknowledging others' perspectives shows them you have taken various points into account and still believe your own option is best.
4. Don't Back Down If You Don't Believe It's Right
Part of being an adult is admitting when you're wrong, and there is nothing bad about that. However, if you truly believe that you're right, don't back down. If you want to communicate with confidence, you need to show others that you are not second-guessing yourself. When you lose confidence in what you're saying, others will, too.
5. Accept That You Don't Always Have to Say 'Yes'
It's human nature to want to help others, but saying "yes" isn't always in your best interest. You don't have to say agree to something if you aren't comfortable with it – and that includes when people ask you to take on new tasks at work. If there's too much on your plate, be clear and communicate that. No one will penalize you for wanting to do a good job with what you have already taken on. If taking on another project will cause you too much stress, politely decline.
It is important to realize is that you don't owe anyone at work an explanation if you cannot do extra work that is above and beyond your original agreement. Simply saying "I cannot do that" should suffice. If someone prods you for more information, all you need to say is "I have a lot on my plate, and I want to make sure I can do everything to the best of my ability."
We all find ourselves in situations where we need to assert our wants, needs, and abilities, but doing so can be difficult. Communicating with confidence shows others that you aren't going to back down and let them choose for you. Whether you are at work, with friends, or with your family, being able to communicate with confidence will help you take control of your life.
Michele Lando is a certified professional resume writer and the founder of Write Styles.