Don't always speak with such confidence. (If people already trust you, expressing uncertainty can be more convincing.)

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Don’t always speak with such confidence.

As I work with growing leaders, one challenge we often work on is speaking with confidence to peers and senior leaders.

🤔 “I think…”
🤔 “My opinion is…”
🤔 “I’m not 100% sure …”
🤔 “I could be wrong, but…”

Part of overcoming impostor syndrome and becoming a more effective leader is learning to put an end to subtractive phrases like those. They express uncertainty, and they make a speaker less persuasive.

Except when they make the speaker MORE persuasive.

A 2016 article in Scientific American entitled “The Upside of Uncertainty” shared a number of studies with a surprising outcome. They suggest that when a person is already viewed as an expert, those subtractive phrases actually increase the confidence the reader or listener has on the conclusion that is shared.

When people already trust you, expressing uncertainty can make you MORE persuasive!

So if you’re new to your seat at the leadership table, then yes, eliminate those subtractive phrases.

If you already wield expertise power, go ahead and express uncertainty on the positions you find most important.

And if you’re in charge, but you truly want other people’s opinions to challenge your position, expressing uncertainty may actually backfire. You may want to hold off on sharing your thoughts entirely until you get feedback from your team.

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