How to speak with authority in work and life

June 16, 2017 - 10 minutes read

Speaking with Authority

Do you have great ideas but struggle to express them clearly, convincingly and concisely? Or do you never quite manage to make girls feel comfortable around you when you talk?

You could be employee of the month every month. But if you talk like you feel that you’re not even allowed in the room, you will start to experience frustration with the amount of closed doors you see.

Knowing how to speak confidently isn’t just for the world of dating, although it applies an equal amount. Confident communication can get us through the most trying of times: job interviews, long meetings and presentations, arguments that could escalate, even awkward family dinners.

If you know how to present yourself, it becomes a social skeleton key that you can use to handle any situation.

Here are some key things to bear in mind:

Invest in your confidence

Know your stuff


Control the hands

Vocal pitch and intonation – breathing 

Speaking with confidence becomes so natural once you master it that you will soon find yourself enjoying and getting the most out of your encounters again.

Invest in your confidence 

Before you even think about the speaking part, you have to get familiar with the confidence part. I have been helping people relocate their self-esteem for over a decade now, and none of them were born with it.

I have written plenty about confidence being a process, but if you want other people to see the effects of that process, such as in your speech or body language, you have to actually apply yourself to the process of attaining confidence. 

Go to the gym, spend time following your passions, read more, or really go for that long-overdue next step at work. Challenge yourself, and meet those challenges.

I could teach you all the gesticulations and vocal tones under the sun, but the most effective method as to how to project confidence is simply to become confident. That takes time, and the habitual smashing of personal and social barriers.

That also means putting yourself forward for activities or tasks you may not usually do, like giving a group presentation or training a bunch of newbies. If you volunteer yourself, you will tackle the task with that much more gusto than if you are chosen. This will come across in your vocal tone.

Know your stuff 

This applies more to the need to speak with authority at work, or in situations where you actually have authority and need to exert it.

Naturally, the more you know about a topic, the more you will have confidence in speaking about it. Having a sound knowledge base is not only key to doing a job right, it’s also the way to sound confident and professional when discussing your field. If you’ve searched for this article, I can only imagine you care enough about your job to want to sound authoritative and confident when you step through the front door of the office.

You won’t mind, then, making sure that your knowledge is up to scratch and you keep a more than fleeting eye on industry news.

Also, the other important thing to know is your limits. Nobody knows everything, and even fewer people like a know-it-all. If you don’t know much about a subject, but start talking at great length about it, you’re setting off on very rickety foundations and pretty soon you will start wavering.

If you’re meant to have prepared something, prepare it. If you’re applying this to the world of dating, know what’s great about you before going into a room and avoid waffling on about topics you don’t understand just to impress someone. They will have a far greater appreciation for a man who gives off the impression that he loves who he is and what he does and has gone out of his way to know as much as he can about it.


Your posture is key not just for communicating confidence via your body language, but it actually changes the sound of your voice as well.

Breathing becomes hugely important in maintaining your posture. Breathing using your diaphragm, for example, lengthens the chest cavity containing the lungs to full stretch. Accompany this with pulling your shoulders back and keeping an upright gait when you walk, you will find that your voice is more resonant than it used to be.

Posture is also crucial for upholding authority. How many slouchy drill sergeants have you seen? Regardless of what it does for your voice, if you are speaking with strong, straight posture it gives you words far more credence and presence.

Remember: there is no point speaking if the listener feels that they don’t have a reason to listen. Keeping your chest out and your shoulders back will give the recipient of your message confidence that they should be listening to you on this particular topic.

Control the hands 

This is one of the most difficult parts of learning to speak confidently – you have to unlearn quite a few physical tics that accompany speaking when you are not comfortable.

This can include leg-jiggling, playing with your hair and face, grasping the other hand, rubbing the skin on your arms, or even using your phone (as a habit, not out of necessity).

These need to go. It makes you look nervous and uncomfortable, but a gesture can also mean many different things in different cultures and you run the risk of offending someone. This seems trivial, but if you work for an international company and need to speak confidently at an overseas conference, it’s worth bearing in mind.

Calm, open gesticulation to emphasise key points is all that is needed. If you are out talking to girls, however, you may not mind getting a bit animated with the body language – it shows that you are engaged in the conversation. It’s a less formal environment, so requires a less prepared, controlled approach.

Even animated gestures need to come from a basis of calm, confident body language. This basis comes from the very first point of the article – Invest in yourself and you will feel amazing – and it will show.

Vocal pitch and intonation 

The most important aspect of vocal tone to think about is when to use it. We often mix the formal and the informal and this can cause problems when, for example, trying to sound authoritative in a really casual social environment, or being too light and informal when a firmer stamp of authority is required.

Reading a situation can feed a lot of how you shape your vocal tone. That includes the pitch of your voice as well as the pauses and the emotion behind what your saying, if there is any. However, as a rule you should be speaking from your diaphragm, using the breathing mentioned above, which should make your vocal tone deeper, richer and more authoritative.

If you smile as well, this will sharpen your consonant sounds and brighten your vowel sounds. You should approach women smiling as wide as you can. You will not only appear warm and friendly, but this will naturally make you sound more confident during the ensuing conversation.

I hope this has helped you learn how to be more confident while speaking. The key to confidence, and confident speaking, is practice. So get out there and put a few ideas from the above into practice.

For further information on a more in-depth, tailor-made journey to your core confidence, visit

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