What is it that makes people perceived as confident or lacking confidence?

You’ve probably observed people who manage to exude confidence while others do not exude confidence, despite having comparable qualifications.  You also probably know that confidence is a key driver in “getting places”. And you would be right. Sometimes people think they have to become a cocky or braggadocious and that may feel uncomfortable.  The good news is that no one likes a cocky person and being confident does not mean you have to be cocky.  You can be true to who you are while improving the perception of your confidence. To do so may only take slight changes while having a big impact.

The words you use are an example of small changes having a big impact on how you are perceived.

Let’s look at three examples of common words that can have a tremendous impact on how your confidence is perceived.
“Just”
“I think”
“I enjoy”

“Just”
This one word, in my opinion, has the biggest impact on the perception of your confidence.  It shows a hesitation. By removing it, you sound affirmative, yet do not come across as over-confident.
For example, change:
“I just wanted to know what you thought about the presentation.”
To:
“What did you think about the presentation?”
Change:
“I was just hoping to speak with you for a minute.”
To:
“I’d like to speak with you.”

“I think”
The phrase “I think” can really convey a lack of confidence. I recently ran a virtual job search program with a team of professionals. One exercise was to listen and critique each other’s elevator pitch. One woman stated “I think I’m good at analyzing data” among other skills she “thought” she had. She was called out immediately by her peer for coming across as unsure of her skills. What made that peer think she was unsure of her own skills? The words “I think”. The peer suggested she state her skills affirmatively to come across confidently. If you come across as less than 100% sure of your skills, why should others believe you have those skills? If you don’t believe it, no one else will.
For example, change:
“I think I’m good at analyzing data.”
To:
“I’m adept at analyzing complex data and use it as a basis to make informed decisions.”
Change:
“Do you think you could introduce me to someone in your network?”
To:
“Who else might be a good person for me to speak with?”

“I enjoy”
The truth is, in the business world no one really cares what you enjoy. They care about what you can do for their business. Yet, most people present themselves by talking about what they love doing and what they are passionate about. Reframing this will significantly improve your standing as a candidate for a new role or promotion.
For example, change:
“I really enjoy working with lots of data.”
To:
“I contribute informed opinions about the market based on in-depth data analysis.”
Change:
“I’m passionate about helping others succeed.”
To:
“I motivate individuals to perform to their highest productivity.”

Get the idea? Be conscious of what words you choose. It’s one of those things where a small change has a big impact. As I mentioned up front, you don’t have to become a cocky person to exude confidence. Eliminating these phrases remove the impression of self-doubt and will allow you to be perceived as having confidence in your abilities.

Try it and let me know how it goes! Comment in our free, private Facebook group: “Reignite Your Career Passion”.