Have you ever stood up in front of a room full of people at work, all waiting expectantly for you to deliver your pitch or presentation?
You’ve prepared your visual aids all weekend, but you forgot to practice how you were actually going to speak in front of your bosses and colleagues! Uh-oh.
Thankfully, you manage to get through it, but you’re painfully aware that it could have gone better; that you could have sounded more confident of yourself.
Picture another scenario: you’re with a group of friends, and they ask your opinion on a hot topic.
Unfortunately, you’re not that knowledgeable about the topic at hand, and thus far had just gotten by with occasionally nodding your head, or making sounds of assent. You’re able to give your half-baked view, but you trailed off near the end.
Whether you want to inspire trust in coworkers and managers (or impress them), or you simply want others to listen to you and trust you more, you’ve landed on the right article.
Here, I’ll be talking about – in order – what confidence really means, seven phrases that make you sound confident and in control, and why it matters that you sound confident at all.
What does confidence really mean?
When you think of someone confident, what you do see in your mind? In my mind, I picture someone who’s not afraid to go up on stage and speak or perform in front of a crowd of people.
I see someone who is not shy to meet new people and always seems to know exactly what to say to them, to break the ice or prolong a conversation. I see someone who people naturally tend to trust and follow.
Whatever you may be thinking, you and I would be both right.
According to Gemma Leigh Roberts, author and psychologist, confidence is believing in yourself that you can reach your goals and adapt when things don’t go the way you planned.
In fact, building confidence is key to career growth and job satisfaction. This is especially true if you’re a leader (or you want to be).
Confidence is conveyed in part by how you speak – it’s both what you say and how you say it.
Renowned voice coach Roger Love said, “The goal in any communication, especially business, is to control the way that other people perceive you when you speak.”
And while tone is extremely important, words carry weight as well – they literally communicate to people the kind of person you are.
What are some phrases that make you sound confident and in control?
Use this phrase instead of “I can’t”, which is coming from a place of fear, rather than confidence.
“I won’t” clearly states a position, assertiveness, and decisiveness to your words.
Using “I can’t”, on the other hand, makes you sound insecure or incapable of doing something, and might (even unconsciously), influence people into thinking you have low self-confidence.
“I won’t” also allows you to take ownership of your own decisions, and demonstrates your independence.
“No problem, I can handle it.”
According to a good friend of mine who runs a business – as vice president of marketing – this is one of the phrases that make you sound confident and in control.
It shows others that you’re challenged, but not daunted by the task at hand – even if you haven’t done it before. It shows that you’re confident in your ability to handle it.
Remember, when speaking with confidence, you have to make people believe that you have conviction and that you’re sure of yourself.
“I believe” is definitely among the phrases that make you sound confident and in control. Using it instantly plants your thoughts on solid ground, allowing them to take root and grow into action.
I know some of you might be wondering, “Why can’t I just use ‘I think’?”
Of course, there’s no rule that says you can’t, but personally – as someone who has to practice saying “I believe” whenever appropriate – “I think” means there’s still room to change your mind.
And while being open-minded is generally a good trait to have, “I think” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of phrases that make you sound confident and in control.
“I make decisions based on my expertise and experience.”
Another phrase my friend suggested is “I make choices based on what I know and what I’ve experienced.”
She shared that this statement tells people that you know a lot about the field, project, task, or subject matter, and that you have experience on which you base your decisions.
It indicates that you have confidence in your abilities and that you’re capable of making sound choices.
More of a word than a phrase, using this makes you come off as sure of yourself.
Compared to using phrases such as “I guess”, “kind of”, “sort of”, “I suppose”, using “definitely” projects strength.
In fact, executive coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, Joel Garfinkle, said: “If you want to project confidence, use the word ‘definitely.’ This way the person you’re communicating with knows you are 100% certain in your statement.”
And there’s definitely no more straightforward way to say that.
“I can take this on”
Another one of the phrases that make you sound confident and in control, says my VP friend.
This phrase communicates that you’re not afraid of challenges and that you have confidence in your ability to overcome them.
It also suggests to others that you’re resilient and adaptable enough to work around setbacks and that you’re capable of finding solutions to difficult problems.
“I look forward to hearing your thoughts”
After a pitch or a presentation, we tend to say, “I hope that made sense”, or simply “What do you think?”.
However, in a professional setting, that does not sound too good especially if you are trying to sound confident and in control.
In such cases, it’s best to say, “I look forward to hearing your thoughts”.
Whereas the first two options can make your audience think that you just threw stuff on the wall and are now waiting to see what sticks, “I look forward to hearing your thoughts” conveys total certainty regarding whatever you are having a conversation about.
Additionally, your audience will also know that their own thoughts matter to you as well.
Why should you care about sounding confident?
Now that you have an idea about the phrases that make you sound confident and in control, you might be thinking, “Well, hey, this doesn’t apply to me. I’m already confident.”
That’s all good and well for you, but do ask yourself: “What would it hurt to know more?” The answer is it would hurt nothing. What’s wrong with affirming whether or not people actually perceive you as confident or in control?
Knowing how to speak confidently is an important aspect of effective communication, both in your personal and professional life.
First impressions last, and how you sound can have a profound impact on how others perceive you and your ideas.
When you use phrases that make you sound confident and in control, you impart a sense of authority, competence, and self-assurance – because you know what you’re talking about – which can help to build trust and credibility with whoever you’re speaking with.
This applies to many situations, whether that’s you giving a presentation, speaking up and contributing meaningfully in a meeting, or simply engaging in daily conversation.
Another reason why sounding confident is so important is that it can help you share ideas more easily and face issues involving people you work with.
Think about it: when you sound hesitant, unsure, or even apologetic, you can come off as lacking confidence in your own ideas. This can make it more difficult for others to take you seriously.
As I mentioned, confidence inspires trust in others. So if we don’t sound confident, others are less likely to believe in us.
And it’s not hard to understand this. After all, wouldn’t you be less inclined to listen to someone who doesn’t sound sure of themselves at all?
On the other hand, when you sound confident, you can inspire o, which can make it easier for them to embrace our ideas and support our goals.
Using phrases that make you sound confident and in control can also help you build your own sense of self-assurance and empowerment.
When you speak with confidence, don’t you tend to feel more in control of the situation?
Building up confidence helps you project a more positive and assertive image. This can help you ease any feelings of anxiety, fear, or self-doubt, and it can give us the courage to take risks and pursue our goals.
Some ways to do this include being more compassionate towards yourself, celebrating your previous achievements, and not comparing yourself against others, among others.
A note on confidence vs. arrogance
At this point, I would like to note that there is a difference between being confident and being arrogant.
Confidence is meant to build you up without tearing others down.
It means that you have beliefs and you know that your ideas have merit. But it also means that you are open to feedback and different points of view.
Just because you’re confident doesn’t mean you have to stop being respectful of other people.
The bottom line
Sounding confident is a highly useful skill for effective communication and for building lasting relationships with people around you, based on credibility, trust, and empowerment.
By using phrases that make you sound confident and in control, others are more likely to see you as someone they can turn to, someone they can trust. In the workplace, this can also help you achieve your goals and forge stronger bonds with others.