Speaking with authority is necessary when you’re in your wheelhouse, both in your role at work and in your personal life. If you are communicating your message, it needs to come out with authority and confidence.
Being an authoritative speaker is how we get hired for jobs and get people to follow our call to action. Yet almost nowhere in our lives are we trained to be authoritative, confident speakers. We travel through our careers and lives without anyone telling us how to manage others, make small talk, or be convincing.
How many of you would trade in that Trigonometry class for learning the process of becoming an authoritative communicator?
How to Speak with Authority
- Acknowledge that your message is valuable, and you deserve for people to hear it. You’re doing your firm or your family a favor by delivering your message. If you’re the CMO, you’re not giving legal advice. You’re providing people with important information about Marketing. Many of those folks don’t know anything about marketing so they need your message.
- Be relaxed. The absolute foundation for doing anything well is to eliminate tension from your musculature. You’re not going to see Tiger Woods freaking out before a golf tournament. He’s calm as a cucumber. That’s half the battle. We humans walk around with a tremendous amount of tension in our musculature. It’s our responsibility to become aware of it and eliminate it.
- Establish trust by keeping your body open and using a warm smile. Look into the mirror to see if your face has a scrunched, tense look. If so, relax those muscles.
- Remove undermining words and phrases. Filler words take away your power and authority. “I believe,” “I think,” “I just,” have no place in your speech. They serve no purpose but to undermine you.
- Use pauses within your sentences-don’t stop after every two words, but do break between phrases. Did you ever hear someone speak with dastardly run-on sentences? They keep going so much that you can’t remember how they started their story. You thought run-on sentences were only something people do in writing, right? Oh no, they negatively impact the authority with which you speak. Here’s an example. Read this sentence aloud and take a breath in at the slash. “Have a look at the minutes/ and get back to me with your suggestions.”
More info on using pauses in this article on slowing down your speech.
- Use a full, resonant voice. Whiny voices that go up at the end or use glottal fry do not sound authoritative—quite the opposite. Listen to yourself on the recorder without hatin’ on yourself. The voice you hear on the recorder is the one that everyone else hears. The one you hear in your head is bone-conducted, from your mouth to your ears inside your head. Remember that sound is air molecules vibrating, and the more air you use, the fuller, more resonant you’ll sound.
Here’s how to improve the sound of your voice.
- Be Concise. Speak in chunks with pauses in between. Wordiness loses people’s attention. And we can’t afford that!
- Practice until it becomes a habit in your life. You won’t have to practice everything you’ll ever say. You want to break down your practice into segments. Maybe start with your team first, then your boss, then your spouse. Master each communicative situation before you go on to the next. Of course, you don’t have to go it alone. I am here for you. Have a chat with me, and we’ll design a program for you that works lickety-split.
What are your tips for sounding authoritative? Have you tried any of the above? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
I know! I said there are 7 steps, but I added another one, I hope that’s ok 🙂