Confidence helps us take risks and push ourselves to excellence. But it can also inspire more trust in other people and open doors that would remain closed otherwise. Here are a few ideas for how to sound confident and, eventually, build up the inner sense of confidence that will add to our inner strength.
Stop undervaluing yourself when you speak
One of the first elements that will give you more confidence when you speak is not undervaluing yourself. We often do this when we make self-deprecating comments or suggest to others that we are unsure or what we are doing. This can be expressed in words or turns of phrase like “if you think that’s fine,” “I think, but…” There are many ways in which we might undermine ourselves as we speak.
That’s not to say you should always sound completely sure, especially if you are not. But you can offer your opinion without adding too many disclaimers to it or speak with security when you have that option. Your words reflect your confidence and can make you come off as more or less convincing.
Avoid words like “just” or phrasing ideas as a question
There are some ways of speaking that can usually be perceived as insecurity. Here are a few ideas to consider. When you add “just” to a request or use other ways of making it seem smaller, it also makes it appear less important. If you are asking for something that matters, do so in an effective way.
Avoid phrasing your statements and opinions as questions. This makes you sound unsure and gives the other person an opening to disagree. You will not always be right, but it’s fine to phrase things in a way that shows you know what you’re talking about. You can affirm without trying to soften the affirmation.
Avoid beating around the bush
Sometimes, when you express your request or idea in an insecure way, the other person might not even understand what you mean. If you require a favor, ask for a favor. Instead, being too unclear in an effort to be polite can lead to awkward situations or misunderstandings, bringing more trouble down the line.
For example, if you want someone to take your shift tomorrow starting at seven, it’s better and faster to ask for this, rather than beating around the bush. It’s not about being polite, but it is about cutting to the chase. Confident people can withstand a no, but they also know that it’s better to be clear. This maximizes the chances for success and is a more considerate approach. Make sure you are clear on what you want, when, why, and any other relevant details.
Watch the non-verbal signals
We don’t have full control over our non-verbal signals, but we can make an effort to shift them. What helps is changing our posture. Try to stand up straighter and spread your shoulders. Speak slower and in a lower voice. Make pauses when you need to, don’t speak continuously and quickly, as this can make you sound more insecure. Speak like you know you will have time to express everything you want to express.
You might pay attention to some of the gestures you make. Try to avoid crossing your arms or looking away. Consider whether you often make gestures that suggest you are insecure. Once you become more aware, it also becomes easier to change these movements and, over time, it becomes more natural to use other types of body language while speaking.
Allow yourself to make mistakes
Being confident doesn’t mean never making mistakes. In fact, being too afraid of doing so can have the opposite effect. It makes you seem more insecure. Instead, allow yourself to be wrong and acknowledge it if it happens.
When you are too worried that you might seem foolish, you won’t be easily able to relax and let yourself go along the conversation. It makes you appear less confident and more insecure, rigid. Give yourself permission to mess it up. It’s fine.