Why the way you’re talking is hurting your credibility

You’re making a sales phone call.  You’re talking to someone really important who you just ran into. You’re giving a presentation with a short time-limit.  You’re talking about an event you’re really passionate about and want to convince others to attend.  In all of these important situations you tend to do one thing…and it hurts your credibility.

It hurts your credibility because while you think it shows your passion, it may actually be viewed as a sign of insecurity or lack of confidence.

What are you doing?  You’re talking too fast and not taking up conversational real estate.  You’re rushing through what you have to say most likely because you know the person has limited time and attention so you want to get the information out as fast as possible. But this can really backfire on you.  It can sound unconvincing at best, desperate at worst.   

What’s the solution?  Take up conversational real estate

Conversational real estate

Actress Amy Poehler once commented, “I’ve been doing this thing lately where I try to talk slower at meetings. I take a lot of meetings with women and we all talk really fast. But every guy talks so much slower. I think men are just a little bit more comfortable taking up conversational real estate. So I’ve been seeing how slow I can tolerate talking.”

Whether you are a man or a woman, taking up conversational real estate is a sign of confidence and conviction in what you are saying.  Taking up conversational real estate does not mean using a lot of words. In many cases, being more concise is more effective. It isn’t about how much you say, it’s about the way in which you say it.

Confident speakers take up verbal space and take long pauses.  They have the floor and they own it.  It’s a power thing.  And it’s key for conveying your convictions in your beliefs.  

Slow down for the most important points

The more important the point, the more you should…slow…..down.  I know some of you are saying, “But I’m just a naturally fast talker.”  That’s fine, but make sure you slow down when you get to the most important part.  Force yourself to annunciate.  If you are making a recommendation, slow down.  If you want to get their attention, slow down.  It shows confidence and helps you stress the importance of what you are saying.  Give your message the time it deserves.    

Get rid of the “ums”

I have….um….a dream.   

Not the same is it.  Give yourself the gift of being videotaped or recorded.  I do this often and while slightly horrifying, I learn something new every time I see myself on the screen.  Listen for the amount of times you use the word “um” or “you know” or “right?”  These fillers are credibility killers.  When you slow down, you give yourself time to think.  You aren’t as likely to try to fill in the pause with an “um” while you try to come up with what you are going to say next.     

Get comfortable slowing down and pausing in your communication.  Take up conversational real estate. It’s a simple way to come across as instantly more credible.

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan

Holly Buchanan is the author of Selling Financial Services to Women – What Men Need to Know and Even Women Will Be Surprised to Learn. She is the co-author of The ... Web: www.SellingFinancialServicesToWomen.com Details