Want Greater Charisma When You Speak? Have Certainty


When we speak in front of others, our goal is usually to get them to take action or think differently. We’re offering them something –  ourselves and our message; an actual product or service. The audience will take their cue from us, and we need to be certain and congruent in our words, our body language and our energy to convince them. And the more we can do this, the more charismatic we’ll be.

Today we’re going to look at using words to be more charismatic: if you’re uncertain about your message, or lack confidence, you’ll retreat to the perceived safety of wishy-washy language, and your audience will switch off. When you use words like “try”, and phrases such as “you may not agree with me here…”, “this possibly means…” or “there are different ways of looking at this”, you don’t help your cause.

Most time-poor audience members today are overwhelmed with the draining pile of options available to them, and crave certainty, both emotional and rational, from a speaker. When you speak with conviction about what you’re offering, they’ll be grateful for the short-cut, and more open to your offer. And so long as you’re not unpleasantly dogmatic or hectoring in your approach, they’ll view you as more charismatic!

Action steps: 

With this knowledge, what can you do? Every audience member has their own agenda, subconscious or not. All you can do is appeal to each individual agenda through using words which resonate with clarity and conviction. Of course you’re going to feel doubt and uncertainty, and it’s not always easy to be convincing: but to be successful with your offer, the bottom line is that you need to be. So If you already know that you use what I call feeble words, go through one of your talks, or record yourself next time you’re rehearsing or speaking in public. Then:

  1. get in touch with your inner conviction! What can you positively believe about your ‘offer’?
  2. with this in mind, just notice which words and phrases make you seem uncertain. Then start weeding them out; asking a friend to listen is always helpful too
  3. replace your feeble words with ones that make you sound in charge, such as: “I guarantee that you…” “you will think/feel/act…” “I promise you that…”
  4. ensure that you have strong facts, evidence and examples for every main point
You’ll get much greater audience engagement and buy-in as a result.


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Comments (2)

  • Tom King Reply

    Great tips Sarah! I think it will kinda, sorta help me be more convincing:) Just kidding – these really are important and helpful ideas.



    at 2:52 am
    • Sarah Denholm Reply

      Thanks Tom, glad you found the ideas useful 🙂

      Uncertainty can be an attractive quality, especially when it relates to open-mindedness, but certainty when we’re making an offer as a speaker is truly important.

      at 8:46 am

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