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A professor once told me, “Say it with confidence and people will believe you.”  I was preparing for a debate and, in order to win, I needed to convince the audience that I was right. To meet that objective my belief was irrelevant; both the topic and the position were assigned to me. I had to sound confident in my position and beliefs, otherwise, how could I expect the audience to feel that way? In theory, my professor’s advice was great. Although I won the debate, when I thought about that advice afterward, I realized it was faulty.

Essentially, my professor suggested that if I lied, people would still believe me as long as I spoke confidently. See the problem with this advice? I had tremendous respect for this professor and after the debate, we debriefed and revisited his wisdom. He explained that his intent was not to teach me to lie but to state my position with conviction and confidence. If I believed what I was saying others would, too.

Recently, I heard similar advice framed differently, “Not always right but never in doubt”, which made more sense. The message is similar, but the delivery is different — and delivery always matters. The core message is that in order to be confident in your statements and actions, you must first believe in them. Confidence or conviction is not arrogant, it conveys a sense of certainty and assurance that can inspire confidence in others. Confidence is an incredibly important quality to have, and in that respect my professor was right.

As an entrepreneur, how can I convince clients to follow my recommendations if I do not believe in them? How can you make decisions without confidence that they are the right decisions? That doesn’t mean that new information later won’t change your mind. But if it does, you should have confidence in that as well.

You may not always be right, but you should never be in doubt.

“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.” Peter T. Mcintyre

What will you be confident about this weekend?

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