It took me quite a long time for me to develop a voice – my voice. And at 38 years old, I finally feel confident and able to effectively communicate and express myself without fear of what others think.

Its liberating and oh so freeing!

As I reflect on my life up until now, I think about the countless times that I didn’t speak up – all the times I could’ve used my voice. The times where I could’ve been brave and started conversations that matter but instead I chose to stay silent. In work meetings where I would wait for someone else to raise the issue. In discussions with my boss where I disagreed. In relationships where I held my tongue.

As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt a lot of lessons about communication the hard way. My go to method when it came to the crunch was to not communicate at all. I would bottle things up – sometimes physically unable to get the words out of my mouth. I had little confidence or belief in myself, often letting the stories in my head get the better of me, so I just held the words back. Bottling up the words and the associated emotions took its toll though.

But what if I had just pushed past the limiting stories I was telling myself in my mind so I could just say what I wanted to say? What if I had just decided to speak?

As I reflect back, my top 5 communication tips for my younger self would be:

  1. If it’s important – just say it.
    When something is super important to you, it won’t just go away. So instead of bottling it up and the associated emotions – just say it. This is not always easy to do but you will thank yourself for it later on.
  2. Write it down.
    If like me, you sometimes struggle to find the words verbally (it’s an actual thing for me), write it down. Write it all down. It helps to get it out. Once the words are out, you can then choose to give it to the person its directed to, you can keep it or burn it if you need. But getting the words out is so important.
  3. Speak up at work.
    Know that you are employed in a role for who you are and what you can do. You are just as important as everyone else, no matter what role or position you hold – so speak up and get your opinions heard. If you don’t speak up, opportunities will pass you by, people will think you don’t have an opinion or that you just don’t care.
  4. Tell people how you are feeling.
    So often we hold our emotions in and let them get the better of us. Often when we face an issue, the emotion we are feeling starts out quite small. But when we hold the emotion in, it tends to grow and can become volatile to the point where we erupt. So tell people how you are feeling. Do it in a way that doesn’t personally attack them, just let them know that an action or behaviour has affected you and you are feeling hurt or angry or whatever emotion is arising. It may take some people off guard, so give them the space to process and then respond.
  5. Don’t just talk about the weather.
    We as humans, want and need connection, real connection. When someone asks how you are going, respond with thought rather than just saying ‘fine thanks’. Get past the small stuff and just talking about the weather and talk about the things that actually matter to you.

Stepping into our true confidence starts with finding the courage to speak our truth. To speak up at work, in social settings and at home, your voice matters.

Riannah Roach – Women’s Confidence Coach I NLP Master I Hypnotherapist I