How To Sound Super Confident With 7 Easy Tips
Just because you have butterflies in your tummy and are breaking out in stress sweats doesn't mean you can't fake your way into sounding super confident — you don't have to betray yourself. There are clever tricks you can use that'll make your voice even out and make the person you're talking to think you have it all under control. Sometimes it helps to square your shoulders. Other times it's best if you flash an I-got-this smile. While these all work, it's important to remember that being nervous or reserved isn't necessarily a bad feeling, it's a natural one. But if you want to sound super confident in moments where you'd like nothing more than to run and hide underneath your blankets, than you're going to need some tips.
Whether you're going to be presenting in front of a meeting room, finally going up to that one guy hanging out in the corner of the bar, or gathering up the courage to ask one of your industry heroes out to lunch, you're going to want to keep it smooth. Nerves are endearing, but not if you're standing there tripping over your tongue. To help you through these sticky type of big-moment situations, here are seven tips to sound super confident even if you're not. You'll be the only one who knows what's up.
1. Don't Ever Say A Statement Like A Question
The fastest way you give off a nervous, uncertain vibe is if you phrase statements like questions. It tips off your listener that you don't feel sure over what you're saying. Sarah Landrum, career writer at career-development site Levo, pointed out, "People ask questions when they’re missing information or want approval for an idea or decision. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of those situations, both can make you sound vulnerable."
If you're feeling nervy but want to appear confident, make sure all your sentences are declarative and end in periods. Don't let your voice creep up into a question mark!
2. Mask Nervousness With Another Emotion
You might not be able to get rid of your butterflies, but you can replace them with another emotion you're feeling. Speaking and media coach Nikki Stone wrote for Huffington Post, "I often couldn't stop the tensions, but I found that I could hide them. Playing up my emotions by really getting into the excitement of my story or working to honestly feel the disappointment I had experienced, I was able to mask the jitters. It's much easier to hide one emotion with another than it is to hide an emotion by suppressing it."
Say you're on a date and feel like you've got the pulse of a hummingbird. There's no way you'll be able to pretend all those jitters aren't there, but you can use your excitement for being there and talk through that emotion, instead. That way you come off sounding confident and pumped for being there.
3. Make 'Em Laugh
There's something about laughter that creates a bond — and once you have a bond with someone, you're prone to feel as nervous or intimidated around them. Stone pointed out, "It immediately lightens the mood in the room and helps me relax." So make your listener or audience laugh. Throw in a funny story about your week, or say something witty or self-depreciating. The easy going manner will hint at confidence and steady nerves.
4. Have A "Get Out Of Jail Free" Card
Chances are if you're nervous you're going to bungle something up sooner or later. You'll either say something silly in a rush to cover up an awkward silence or you'll mention the wrong thing in a meeting you're heading. Whatever it is, you'll speak much more confidently if you have a sentence in your back-pocket that'll poke fun at the mistake and move the conversation along.
Stone shared, "One of the most important lessons I learned as a speaker actually came from late-night TV. I saw an interview with Johnny Carson and he confessed to preparing a joke that he'd keep on hand if and when he made a blunder." If you know you have a small quip or joke that'll break the tension of an awkward mistake, the prospect of it won't seem so terrible, letting you act more confidently.
5. Slow Your Roll
Usually when we're nervous we have a tendency to pick up the speed of our conversation and rattle on, betraying us our nerves. If you're feeling jumpy but want to appear cool, keep an eye on the pace of your words.
Landrum pointed out, "If you talk too quickly you can sound amateurish or nervous, like you’re trying to get it over with as fast as you can." You want to speak like you're at a causal lunch with nerves, that is, at a slow and unhurried pace. Whether you're presenting or trying to impress someone over dinner, you'll seem more confident if your speech is at a friendly pace.
6. No Filler Phrases Allowed
If you want to sound confident, make sure you take out all your justifying phrases. There's nothing more cringey than hearing someone apologizing for speaking up — and it's a dead giveaway that they're nervous to do so.
Landrum stressed, "Do you ever begin your sentences with “This is just my opinion,” “Sorry,” “I’m still working on this,” “Well,” “I mean,” or any number of other negative or useless prefaces? Most people do as a matter of habit or nervousness, but caveats and fillers can damage the confident tone you’re trying to strike." Make sure you take out all of those qualifiers, and your speech will sound ions more confident!
The more times you take yourself out of your comfort zone when it comes to speaking,the easier it'll be to come off as confident. Mainly because you will become confident. Whether it's speaking up in an office meeting, giving a full blown presentation, or just breaking the ice on a first date, the more times you do it the less scary it'll be and the less timid you'll become.
Stone highlights, "There are many people that believe that speaking is something you are good at or not. I have learned through personal experience that speaking is something you can build up — but, you have to be willing to put in the time." Just think of the first time you did something you're really good at: Chances are you were pretty nervous beginning it. But now that you're a pro, you probably don't think a thing about it. So practice being confident — speak to strangers on bars, compliment someone on the train, ask questions in front of co-workers. The more you do it, the easier a time you'll have.