I have sticky note on my desk at work that states:
“A confident tone states everything as a matter of fact, without qualifiers.”
This came from a business course I took on effective communication for leaders. At the time, it was a completely new concept for me because I am a HUGE user of qualifiers.
- I usually get to work on time.
- As long as everything goes as planned, I should have the report to you in the morning.
- I could be wrong, but I think the answer is ______________.
- Oh, you want to read a sample chapter? Well, keep in mind I’m not a huge published author so I probably have a lot of work to do, but here, you go. Let me know what you think, seriously, be brutally honest.
- I’m no expert, but it sounds like to me you might be using just a few too many adverbs.
See what I mean?
I was/am the QUEEN of qualifiers. Some of you are probably (there’s another one) thinking … “Um, so what? I do this all the time!” and still others are thinking, “Geez, what a pansy!”
I think the root of my “qualifier” use lies in the fact that I don’t want to be viewed as a liar. If I say, “I am punctual with my arrival time at work.” And then I am late one day because of traffic/weather/screaming kids at home, then AHHHH. I’ve lied! OH NO!
If I state something as fact, then later find out I’m wrong, then I feel like a complete failure. However, some weird part of me feels a little better if I’ve given a disclaimer about what I’m saying, kinda like I forewarned the person that I could be wrong so if they take my advice, then it’s at their own risk.
So back to the course. I thought about it for a while, and decided they were right. I sound like a fish out of water when I qualify everything I say. If I want people to respect me, to value my opinion, I need to be confident, to exude confidence in my speech.
I know feel like I come across as a know-it-all (kia) person who thinks she’s better than everyone else. And… I REALLY am bothered by those types of people. I know you know them. They are the people that say, “I’m right, you’re wrong, LIVE WITH IT!”
The only one who can really say that, who I love with all my heart, is God. Because… he IS right… we ARE wrong… and we just gotta live with it.
So now I’m reassessing. How can I be confident without coming across as a know-it-all, full of her self person?
I think part of the answer lies in what you are talking about and where you are. When I’m speaking as a “manager” at work, I need to use a more confident tone, yet be able to admit my failures and short-comings when needed (unfortunately, I have many!) When I’m speaking with peers, it can be mixed. A few qualifiers aren’t going to hurt anything, but going overboard will cause me to lose their respect.
In my writing world, well, this is where I struggle the most. Because I recognize that I’m a “beginner.” Well, I hope I’m a little above the beginner level, but I am still learning. That said, aren’t we ALL still learning? Even published authors?
Blog Question of the Day
How do you balance sounding “confident” but not coming across like a stuck-up know-it-all? Or… are you a stuck-up know-it-all and really don’t care how you come across? *grin* Or… are you a wishy-washy qualifier and really don’t care that you sound like a pansy? *double-grin*