The No. 1 Rule For Projecting Confidence - Speak With Authority

by Mike Consol - Date: 2010-11-19 - Word Count: 726 Share This!

One of the most important characteristics a person can project in a business setting - or any situation, for that matter - is confidence.

People are attracted to confident individuals, like a magnet to steel. Those who present themselves with self-assuredness are more successful job applicants and apt to more quickly climb the career ladder.

Speak in a commanding fashion and odds are people will listen to what you have to say. They will even follow your lead. Confidence is an essential ingredient in leadership. When is the last time you say a timid CEO who ran a successful company?

It even has a stimulating effect on the opposite sex. Men and woman both rank confidence high on their scale of what appeals to then in the opposite sex.

Many behavioral factors add to the sum total of confidence, though none is more important than the way you speak. Talk is anything but cheap when establishing a baseline of confidence.

People judge you by what comes out of your mouth. Not just what you say but how you say it.

We've all seen people whose posture, dress, gait or overall appearance signaled weakness, awkwardness, lack of confidence - until they started talking. Then everything changes.

The power of talk is transformative. It can turn the dweeb into the stud, the wallflower into the center of attention. It can turn the seemingly ordinary person into a standout.

There are a multitude of characteristics that makes our speaking style brim with confidence. They're too numerous to mention and thoroughly flesh out. But some of them are:

>> Volume. Speaking in a full voice is a sign that we are comfortable and committed to what we're saying Speak too softly and we sound timid; too loudly and we sound like we're compensating for a self-esteem deficit. Strike the right volume. Listen to great communicators and take the hint.

>> Projection. A confident person and one aware of their situation makes sure to project their voice to fill the available space and reach their listeners' ears. If people have to strain to hear you, you've lost at least part of your audience.

>> Modulation. If you speak in a monotone voice you will begin to drone and will bore your colleagues. Nobody is positively influenced by boredom. Secondly, a monotone voice gives equal weight to everything it's saying. That's bad news. Use vocal inflection to convey to your colleagues what's especially noteworthy. An expressive voice should rise and fall to the occasion.

>> Pacing. Don't speak too quickly or too slowly, except for effect. Nervous speakers tend to talk too fast. Those who speak too slowly put a drag on energy level and make it difficult for people to concentrate on their thoughts. Modulate your pacing. Slow down and change your tone to make a key point. Speed up to provide a surge of fresh energy. Mix up your speed and tone to keep your comments interesting and stimulating.

>> Word choice. It helps immensely to have a good vocabulary, to choose words that are accurate to the situation and penetrate the listener. Having a strong command of your language is essential or you will sound foolish and under-educated.

>> Timing. It isn't always what you say, it's when you say it. Have you ever been in the middle of a business meeting listening to one colleague after another give their considered opinions? Then someone who had been silent until that moment talks at just the right time and sums up the discussion and offers a fresh insight with just the right words. That is a person who expresses confidence and influence. It's a person who did the requisite listening and thinking before speaking.

>> Content. So far I've been talking about how people say things. But
what you have to say is critical. A beautifully crafted but content-free delivery is a lot of sizzle with no steak. If you don't have something meaningful to say don't say it, regardless of how confident your vacuous language might sound on a surface level. You'll soon be regarded an empty suit and a person not worthy of paying attention to. That will put your influence (and career) on ice.

Again, projecting confidence is crucial to your business success. Nothing displays confidence more prominently and consistently than how you speak. Take care in choosing and expressing your words carefully, and watch your career flourish. Words are only cheap when they aren't used judiciously.

Mike Consol is president of He provides corporate training seminars for communication skills, business writing, PowerPoint presentation skills and media training (both traditional media and social media). Consol spent 17 years with American City Business Journals.n
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