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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 December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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