5 Ways Women Can Grow Their Confidence.

October 28, 2021

5 Ways Women Can Grow Their Confidence.

May 29, 2023

Many of us struggle with confidence. It’s fascinating to learn that some seemingly small and innocuous words can sabotage our self-esteem and dilute our message. By intentionally choosing our language, we can boost our confidence, and also positively influence the way we come across to others.

I have researched the many ways that women, in particular, use speech patterns that are diminishing, apologetic, defensive, and unnecessary. Try the following 5 tips and watch your confidence soar.

#1 Eliminate "Just"
"I’m just checking in."
"I just need a minute of your time."
"I just want to ask a question."
"Just" is often cited as THE most overused weak word used by women. It makes us sound apologetic and defensive. Eliminating "just" has the magical effect of boosting our confidence and presence. I don’t "just want to check in"... I actually have an important reason to take your time. Remove this one small word and observe the impact.

#2 Stop Apologizing
A close runner up is "Sorry." Have you ever apologized before asking a question or entering a room, for having strong opinions, and in many situations where an apology isn’t warranted? Research from Upworthy suggests women are 37% more likely than men to consider their behavior as worthy of an apology. There’s a psychological phenomenon at play. Each time we apologize, it’s a drain in our "energy account." By the time we go to bed at night, we are swimming in a debt of withdrawals. In contrast, when we say thank you, we’re making a deposit into our "energy account." The recipient already did something for us and we’re showing appreciation. Next time you’re tempted to apologize, stop and ask yourself, "does my behavior merit an apology?" Perhaps substitute a "thank you" instead. "Thanks for your patience." "Thanks for understanding." Save your apologies for when you need to own up and seek repair.

#3 Don’t Deflect Compliments
"It was nothing."
"It was just my job, in fact the team did most of the work."
"Oh this old scarf? I’ve had it forever!"
Giving a compliment is like presenting a gift. When it’s not graciously received, it’s as though the recipient tossed your gift aside. When we begin accepting compliments in the spirit in which they are given, it lifts the mood and confidence of all. This is especially important for women in the workplace who resist taking credit for work well done. In the end, this resistance can cost them recognition and advancement. There are ways to be humble AND accept praise at the same time.

#4 Forget the Fillers and Practice the Pause
Have you noticed that the most commanding speakers are also comfortable with silence? Many of us sprinkle in healthy doses of umm, so, uhh, I mean, like, and you know. These fillers do nothing to build our credibility and significantly weaken our presence in a room. There is real power in the pause. When a word or phrase doesn’t add to the conversation, leave it out and create some quiet space.

#5 Drop Disclaimers
"I'm no expert but…"
"I don't know a lot about this subject but…"
"This may be a dumb idea…"
When we use disclaimers, we diminish ourselves the minute we open our mouths. Try eliminating these disclaimers from your speech, and observe not only how your confidence improves, but the impact you have on your audience.

These are five of the most common speech patterns I’ve observed. If you'd like my entire list of 15 tips, feel free to drop me an email and I’ll happily share. And, if you’d like to experience an entire week of empowerment with a group of like-minded women, consider joining me and my ReBoot Accel partners, Patty White and Dr. Alexandra White, along with MEA co-founder Christine Sperber, when we return to Baja for our special Women’s Week Jan 16-23, 2022.

Diane Flynn is the CEO and co-founder of ReBoot Accel, and also a workshop facilitator and coach. Her passion is empowering women and building inclusive workplaces.

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