Confidence is not something you either have or you don’t. True, some people are born with innately more confidence than others but for the most part, confidence is something that you have to work on developing and practice till you make perfect. If you feel that it’s time you ditched the “I’m not confident enough” narrative and you’ve decided to adopt an “I’m growing my confidence” attitude, then perhaps you may need to examine one area where confidence is most likely to show … or not! Your speech! The way you speak is one very distinct area you need to work on if you’ve adopted a confidence-growing strategy. That being said, and to simplify things for you, below are 7 phrases that you need to lose from your vocabulary if you want to be perceived as more confident.
1 || Try
If you suffer from a people-pleasing tendency then you probably shy away from saying “no” and you probably make extensive use of the word “try”! “I will try my best to make it to that …meeting, lunch, coffee…etc.” “Try” means that you really don’t want to do this thing but you’re just worried that people will get upset with you. Confident people don’t do this; they either say “yes” and show up or else they say “no” unapologetically.
2 || Can’t
“Can’t” only implies that you do not have the capacity, expertise, knowledge, or whatever is needed to do things. Confident people aren’t afraid of failure, in fact they embrace failure as a stepping stone for further growth and learning. Simply replace “I can’t” with “This is risky but I’ll do it even if I fail.”
3 || Maybe
This is another word that you probably use instead of saying “no”. By now you’re probably aware of the extent of your abilities and your commitments, and when asked if you can commit to doing or submitting something you should be able to say either a “yes” or a “no”. “Maybe” doesn’t get you off the hook, it only serves to emphasise your lack of confidence. “No, Sunday doesn’t work for me. But I can do it on Wednesday!” Be firm and assertive, and people will respect and appreciate that.
4 || Alone
True confidence comes from knowing that you belong to something bigger and greater, whether it’s a work team, family or the wider community. Yet, confident people aren’t afraid of being alone or lonely; when they’re lonely they know exactly how to self-soothe and how to reach out for connection and support. Therefore, confident people don’t have it in their vocabulary to say “I’m all alone.”
5 || Never
Just like “can’t” and “maybe”, using the word “never” implies lack of skills and resources. Being creative, solution-oriented, and open to possibilities are traits directly connected to confidence. “This will never work.”, should be replaced with “Let’s brainstorm this.”
6 || Um …Uh
Don’t use space fillers. IF you don’t know what you’re talking about or you need space to think, then do exactly that; take a pause, and a breath and say “I’ll need a moment to think this through.” Don’t shy away from saying “I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you on this.” This gives more credibility than claiming to know things and trying to talk your way around them.
7 || You Know?
Don’t get into the habit of ending your sentences with “You know?”. You do not need the agreement of others to give you a dose of confidence. Train yourself to end your sentences with something like “What do you think of this?” instead of “You Know?”