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Seven Principles For Projecting Confidence

 

Techniques General persuasion > Articles on persuasion > Seven Principles For Projecting Confidence

Be informed | Be still | Speak deeper | Gaze intently | Admit failings | Know yourself | See also

 

Confidence is one of the most powerful tools of persuasion. When people are wondering if to trust you, they often that if you are very confident that you must somehow know things that they do not. Confidence is also infectious, just being confident helps others around you to be confident, first in you and then in what you say. It is also perhaps unsurprising that confidence is a common tool of those who seek to deceive.

Here are seven principles that you may use to help project confidence and hence persuade others. They may not encompass everything that you need for confidence, but if you follow these, you will certainly be far more able to feel more confident and hence convince others.

Be informed

To be confident you need to know what you are talking about. Read the right books, papers and articles. Listen to credible commentators. Have experts on tap you can call.

You can also get information from people around you, even the other side in a negotiation. All you have to do is ask. And asking confidently can help you get the right answers, too.

Be still

Nervous people twitch, speak quickly. Confident people embody stillness. They move less and more deliberately. Watch actors at work. Watch consummate politicians. Watch business leaders. They move less than the people around them. They plant their feet firmly. They do not fiddle or show other body language that betrays defensiveness or submission. Their stillness suggests deep knowledge and personal power.

Speak deeper

UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously lowered the pitch of her voice, and it’s not just about sounding male. Deeper voices are seen as more authoritative and attractive. When you are tense, your throat clenches and you breath in upper-body gulps. This comes out in a higher pitch and staccato speech. Pause before speaking. Breath from your lower abdomen. Speak more slowly and you will also be able to speak more deeply.

Gaze intently

US President Bill Clinton was famed for looking right into the person in front of them, giving them all their attention. In doing so he made people feel important, yet subservient to him.
Speak assertively. Neither be timid nor aggressive. Speak you truth, clearly and positively, even as you know it could yet prove wrong.

Do not look away when they are talking. Show you are listening. Nod, make interested noises. Hold their gaze, though you may look briefly away (not down) if they seem too uncomfortable. Gaze also when speaking, projecting your words with your eyes into theirs.

If you find it difficult to gaze into people's eyes, you can practice with a mirror or friend. You can also gaze at the point on their nose between their eyes.

Admit failings

It takes a confident person to admit they have been wrong. Apologize simply and clearly when you have erred. Say when you have no answer to a question. Do not be troubled when others seem not to get what you are saying - just reframe what you have said.

Show that you learn and improve. Listen to feedback. Thank the speaker. Ask probing questions to find more, especially if they seem to just be playing status games. Give rope to deceivers and they will tie themselves in knots.

And always do learn. Treat failure as a gift to help you improve. Experiment. Seek feedback. Keep what works.

Know yourself

A confident person can look themselves in the mirror and not feel bad. Know your strengths and use them. Know your weaknesses and handle them. See yourself as human, not superhuman nor subhuman.

There is much in this site that can help you with this, for example in sections about needs, belief, values, motivation and preferences. Study these and reflect on how they apply to yourself. Find ways to satisfy your deep drives. Build integrity in thought and action. Be confident in who you are.

See also

Confidence principle, Seven Principles For Projecting Confidence, Lying, Trust

 

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