You don’t need to become false to who you are to radiate confidence and credibility.

Share story

Perhaps you were brought up to value substance over style and to believe that it’s what you say, not how you say it.

If only this were true. The world would be a much fairer, more predictable and rational place.

Alas, the medium is often the lion’s share of the message. Your delivery of an idea or announcement makes all the difference in how it’s received. Meaning it’s a good idea to cultivate a few techniques for projecting confidence and credibility:

Learn to use your voice. Speaking in a lower pitch always projects a more commanding and mature persona. You can also try pausing after important points, and varying your inflection and pace. Enunciate clearly and cut out the “you knows” and “ums” and “likes,” which dilute your message and make you seem uncertain.

Practice positive eye contact. Even introverts can learn to meet someone’s gaze. And you don’t need to lock eyes to the point where it gets uncomfortable. A good rule of thumb is to look into people’s eyes long enough to notice what color they are.

Take up space. Standing erect with your head high and your weight centered over your body makes you look larger and more powerful. Coincidentally, it also makes you feel larger and more powerful.

Talk with your hands. Gesturing not only directs attention your way, the physical act of movement actually assists our brains to think more clearly and quickly. Consider putting together a gesture repertoire. Displaying the palms of your hands, for example, is a signal of candor in our society. Tenting your fingers into a “steeple” is a classic way to emphasize a point.

Eschew nervous tics. While gesturing is powerful, unconscious fidgeting (bouncing of knees, twirling of hair, drumming of fingers on a desk) is annoying and distracting. Also, it gives the impression that we are nervous, which is not what we want. Still those jangling nerves by taking deep breaths and planting both feet firmly on the floor.

Finally, smile. Smiling lifts your mood, increases your physical attractiveness and gives you an air of approachability. Even more important, a friendly face triggers corresponding emotions in those around us. Think about it. When you smile at people, they almost always smile back at you.