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As someone who speaks and presents a lot in meetings as a freelancer, I often feel jittery or shaky when speaking in public.
An online course aims to unlock the secrets of communication, so you can speak naturally, manage your facial expressions, and look confident. With over 900,000 enrollments to date, Communicating with Confidence, an online course from LinkedIn Learning, offers strategies to help you improve your communication in the workplace.
Taught by Jeff Ansell, career trainer and author of “When the Headline Is You: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media,” this course became one of the top five most popular courses on LinkedIn Learning in 2020.
To understand how to better organize my thoughts and communicate effectively, I decided to register.
To access this course, you need a Linkedin Learning subscription (which you can try out with a 30-day free trial). After that, it will cost you $29.99 per month (monthly) or $19.99 per month (yearly).
You can take the course here or read a review of the course below.
What this LinkedIn Learning online course was like:
Each section includes video lectures and a short chapter quiz to test your understanding of the content. The course is completely self-paced, meaning you can complete it in a month, a week, or even a few sessions. Upon completion, you’ll earn a Linkedin Learning certificate that you can post on your LinkedIn profile or resume to show future employers.
3 things I learned from communicating with confidence:
- Pre-planning short, easy-to-carry messages can reduce stress.
Ansell says every communicator needs messages before they speak. He points out that short sentences work very well and are easy to understand because they present one thought at a time. He recommends finding a purpose before crafting your posts, whether it’s to persuade people on a topic or simply to converse with them.
I have found it helpful to write my messages on index cards before speaking in front of people. I usually write bullet points, which I later form into sentences when I actually talk to others. I also make sure to always keep my objective in mind when I speak, as it helps me frame my message in a way that achieves my objective and prevents me from accidentally going off topic.
- Being aware of your body actually makes you less complex.
Ansell says that when you’re feeling nervous, you can unwittingly send a message to your audience that you’re not a reliable expert, such as by “running away” from your nervousness by fidgeting, swallowing, and speaking too quickly.
He recommends faking confidence until you feel confident: for example, he shares a deep breathing tip for 3-5 seconds before giving something like a speech or a toast to help you relax and better present your message.
In addition to the breathing exercise, I also pretend to be confident by paying attention to my facial expressions and making sure I speak clearly and audibly. I have found that over time my anxiety has started to subside as I take the necessary steps to show my confidence.
- What makes you feel confident is different with each person, but it’s always rooted in connecting with the audience.
A good speaker is connected to both themselves and their audience, Ansell points out, saying they need to keep everyone grounded through their words, gestures and voice.
One thing I keep in mind now when talking to an audience is vulnerability, which helps me connect with my audience. I often speak about my own shared experiences because not only does it come naturally to me, but it also allows others to relate to my stories. It helps me appear more confident, assertive and bold in front of an audience, whether it’s a small team or a larger group.
The bottom line
I was surprised at how much I learned over the few weeks about how I can communicate confidently and naturally. At the end of the course, you will be able to build a powerful message, appear confident and reduce your nervousness to communicate better with others.
Personally, it has helped me build stronger relationships and better express my thoughts and feelings to various audiences, from small groups to large teams.