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A key part of leadership is gaining and maintaining attention while speaking. When we project confidence, clarity, and action, people are more likely to pay attention and accept what we say.

Yet, many of us regularly engage in habits that undermine this goal. Here are five ways you can increase the likelihood that what you say gains attention and allows you to project your message with confidence and force:

  1. Sit up straight or stand when you want to make a point. Body positioning makes a difference in both our voice projection and the nonverbal message we send. When our posture projects confidence and seriousness, our message is more likely to receive the attention we seek.
  2. Maintain voice strength through the end of sentences and statements. When your voice trails off at the end of a statement, you may be sending a message that you’re not sure of what you are saying. Similarly, allowing voice intonation to rise at the end of a sentence or statement may be read as uncertainty, doubt, or even a question.
  3. When making commitments, speak in the active voice. Saying, “I will see that this report is completed on time” projects clearer confidence and leadership than “This report will be completed on time.” Similarly, “We will solve this problem” is stronger than “This problem will be solved.”
  4. When expressing opinions, remove self-references. Rather than beginning with “I believe” or “I think,” make a direct statement. For example, “This a good plan” communicates more strength than “I think this is a good plan.”
  5. Manage interrupters. When someone attempts to interrupt, politely ask them to allow you to finish or invite them to hold their comment or thought until you can finish yours. When we allow ourselves to be stopped mid-sentence or mid-thought, we risk having our message get lost or misconstrued. Talking over someone can be interpreted as argumentative or disrespectful, but asking to finish projects confidence and assertiveness.

Thought for the Week

Finding ways to engage students, increase learning efficiency, and extending recall of what students learn can be a constant quest. Fortunately, designing activities and employing strategies that release the flow of dopamine in our students’ brains can help us to meet this challenge, especially now.

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