When I was 18 years old, I took ballroom dance classes at Arthur Murray. I’ll never forget when I walked into the studio, and another student asked me if I was an instructor. 

Who, me? What?” 

He smiled. “You walked in so confidently, I thought you were in charge!” 

What a valuable lesson for my young self! This taught me the concept of  “Act as if.” I vividly remember that I didn’t necessarily feel confident, but I walked as if I did.

We often have to take a step of faith into our confidence before we actually feel it. 

What does it mean to speak the language of confidence?

Similar to my story above, it’s how we come across. Our presence speaks volumes. The way we carry ourselves, and the impression we leave all comes back to the experience we create for others.

It’s how we use our voice. Are we speaking clearly and with vocal conviction, or are we mumbling and halting in our speech?

It’s pausing to show control. Are we talking too fast and using filler words like “um” and “like,” or are we creating space for people to hear us and absorb what we said?

Here are five practical ways to speak the language of confidence: 

  1. Demonstrate Credibility

When you walk in a room, you have to show up with strength. This is both a behavioral skill (voice, posture, handshake) and a mindset. Be prepared. Know what you’re doing. Be competent and consistent.

  1. Genuinely Care

It’s that simple. People know when you don’t. It’s something you can’t fake. When people feel cared for, they will listen to anything you say. Everyone wants to feel important. Show empathy. 

  1. Provide Clarity

Get straight to the point. If you confuse people, you’ll lose them, as Donald Miller says. Be upfront with your purpose and use what the U.S. Military calls “BLUF” (Bottom line up front). As Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind”.

  1. Prioritize Connection

Find commonalities. Small talk earns us the right to have a deeper conversation. Start with eye contact. If people feel a connection to you, they will stay with you and want to hear what you have to say. Be relatable. They need to believe that what you’re saying is relevant and matters to them personally. 

  1. Be Conversational

Be your natural self – versus a robot or a “presenter” version of yourself – when speaking. Stop with the scripts. Show your humanity when communicating. Be present so you can attune to others’ needs and be ready for anything. Mental agility is critical.

People trust someone more with these characteristics, so these tips will help you speak the language of confidence confidently!

Karen Laos, Communication Expert and Confidence Cultivator, leverages 25 years in the boardroom and speaking on the world’s most coveted stages such as Google and NASA to transform missed opportunities into wins. She guides corporations and individuals with her tested communication model to generate consistent results for women leaders through her Leadership Presence Keynote: How to Be an Influential Communicator.