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Want To Sound More Confident? Avoid These 3 Things In Your Conversation

Want To Sound More Confident? Avoid These 3 Things In Your Conversation

Usually when we want to be more confident, we’re told to do this and that. Instead of adding, what about getting rid of some of our habits? We have learned these habits as children. And often we learned them by watching our elders engaging in conversation. Polite conversation is probably one of the worst things we learned because it teaches that our opinions and knowledge are not valued when we assert them.

Below are 3 things people often use in conversations that largely decrease their persuasive power. Remember less is more. When you can cut these 3 kinds of language from your conversation, you’ll instantly become sound more confident and convincing.

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1. Hedges Are a No-No

Hedges are defined as vague language and are often considered to be “polite” conversation. It allows you to engage without asserting yourself. Some examples are:

  • Possibly
  • Maybe
  • Might
  • Seems

These words imply that you are unbiased or avoiding persuading anyone to agree. While that could be okay in some situations, for the most part, you really need to avoid those words and use powerful words instead that portray your authority. Examples are:

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  • Definitely
  • Clearly
  • Surely
  • Plainly

By using the above words, you assert that you know plenty about the subject at hand and wish to persuade another with your knowledge.

2. Avoid Disclaimers

In legal terms, disclaimer statements are to prevent any incorrect understanding of a subject. People are more likely to use this type of language when they question their own confidence in their knowledge. Often, we are more knowledgeable than we realize and relegate to unconfident language.  Some examples of disclaimers are:

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  • “I am not completely sure, but….”
  • “I am not an authority on the subject, but….”
  • “It could go either way, but…”

One common theme you see is the use of hedges and negative language to relegate the speaker into an unconfident realm. The other common denominator is the use of the word “but” after the use of negative and/or hedge language. This can become a bad habit and it’s best to practice changing it. When you find yourself about to use the disclaimer language, try one of these:

  • “I am certain that…..”
  • “I recently learned…..”
  • “It will go [insert opinion]…..”

3. Stay Away from Tagging

Tag questions are just one more habit many of us have when we are engaged in conversation. Here are a few examples of tag questions:

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  • “… don’t you agree?”
  • “… don’t you think?”
  • “… right?”
  • “… wouldn’t it?”

The biggest concern with tag questions is that they convey us as seeking validation for our opinion. However, highly confident speakers do not seek out validation to their points. The best way to combat the use of tag questions is to avoid using any question for validation at the end of your statement. If you pose a question, it should be nothing more than “Any questions?”.

Remember again, less is more.

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

2. Trust the Muse

Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

“The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

3. Remember to Be Authentic

Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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