Projected Confidence Does Not Always Come From the Inside
Having the confidence to take risks, be candid, and speak out comes from deep inside.
The inner confidence leaders possess is not innate but born of experience. The more we attempt new things and learn how to overcome the obstacles inherent in them, the more we build the confidence muscle.
High confidence in one arena, say speaking, leads to higher confidence in related endeavors, such as small group conversations or facilitation. Inner confidence grows when we experience and learn in more areas. Obviously, success in those performances helps tremendously, but the carryover from one experience to another creates a momentum from which inner confidence mushrooms.
Yet, just because we possess confidence doesn’t mean we project it.
Projecting confidence is a whole other animal and equally important to success. Interestingly, when we display the markers or cues of high confidence, two things happen. First, it boosts our inner confidence. Second, it makes us more believable. When leaders exhibit the markers of confidence, others come to believe they know and are worth believing. This works because people infer from what they do that they are the expert.
When we really know, have direct experience, or have simply witnessed an event firsthand, we project a confidence others can see and feel. We use specific cues to flag we are the best authority. So, any time we use those same social markers, others feel our confidence and presume we really know. Learning to use the markers of confidence intentionally is something all good leaders should invest in.
Here's a short list of confidence markers:
Vivid words and descriptors
Direct eye contact
Diverse word choice
Purposeful hand gestures
When we are truly the expert, we use these cues profusely. Using them any time we want to persuade others helps us to be believed. Confidence is inside and outside. Both matter.