Communicating with Authority
9:49:56 2024-04-06 233

1- Face people and make eye contact. Your mother may have told you it was good manners to look other people in the eyes while speaking to them, but it also helps attach an additional air of confidence to your words. Like an animal asserting authority in the wild, stand tall and directly face those whom you intend to lead.

  • If you are giving a presentation, for example, assume the “power position” at the start — stand in front of the podium, directly facing the audience and making eye contact throughout the room. If you are going through slides, don’t get caught facing the screen or standing perpendicular to both screen and audience the whole time. Face the people and look at them whenever possible.
  • You don’t need to intensely stare at someone while speaking to him/her. But return your gaze regularly to the person, and try not to look down at all while talking.

 

2-Talk in a deep, steady voice and finish each sentence. Being confident and sounding confident are not always one and the same. Some people may be bursting with confidence in their authority, and yet the way they speak gives away this entire advantage. Once you feel authoritative, make sure you sound that way as well.

  • Don’t go to ridiculous lengths to deepen your voice, but adding just a bit more depth can help make what you say sound more authoritative.
  • Practice not allowing your voice to trail off at the end of a sentence. Some people tend to raise their voice inflection at the end of every sentence, making even declarative statements sound like questions. Don’t let it seem like you doubt what you’re saying.


3- Make use of silence. Some people feel like silence is a sign of weakness, and want to fill any gaps by talking. Prattling on, however, is more likely to be taken as a lack of seriousness or certainty. Taking time to think through what you want to say, and using pauses and silence for effect while speaking, helps to bestow authority to your speech.

  • Always think through what you want to say before speaking. Even when you’re “on the spot,” take a couple seconds to gather your thoughts before you begin. That small period of silence will demonstrate that you are serious about addressing the topic at hand and saying exactly what you mean.[13]
  • Practice getting rid of “fillers” like “um,” “uh,” “I think,” etc. Even if you aren’t using them because you’re uncertain of what you want to say, they tend to sound that way. A silent pause is preferable.
  • Use “chunking” while speaking — pause for effect between bursts of speech that each emphasize a key point. Give people a chance to soak in what you are saying.


4- Claim the stage. Making eye contact and facing the audience have already been mentioned in this article, but there are additional steps you can take to demonstrate command of the room when you are addressing a group of people. You want all eyes on you as much as possible.

  • Walk around the stage or the part of the room you are occupying, as if you are marking it as your territory. You don’t need to stalk it like an animal, but walk and stand with confidence — as mentioned, it will be reflected in your voice.
  • Don’t be afraid of hand gestures either. Keeping your hands glued to the podium or clasped together may appear like fear or submission. No one needs to see you pound your shoe on the desk or anything of that sort, but some confident, deliberate gesturing will add weight to your words and your appearance.


5- Practice your authoritative voice. In addition to adding some depth to your voice, finishing off sentences properly, and eliminating “fillers,” you can also work to perfect the tone and pace of your speaking. Speaking too quickly, too softly, or without enthusiasm can all be remedied with practice, and give your words more authority in the process.

  • You might feel silly reciting famous speeches from Shakespeare’s works in your bathroom mirror, but doing so can in fact be helpful. Think of yourself as a great actor on the stage, tackling Hamlet or Macbeth. Speaking with authority will come naturally.
  • More practically, you can practice the speech you’re going to give in a similar manner. Take note of your tone, pacing, volume, gesturing, and so on. Consider recording yourself so you can examine your practice run.

 

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