Want Your Audience to Believe Your Message? First, Believe it Yourself

If we don’t believe in the message we are conveying, how can we hope to move others closer to our cause? It’ll be difficult at best.

An article in Nature Neuroscience led by Benedetto De Martino, a cognitive neuroscientist in the field of decision-making and neuroeconomics, states that the brain has direct links between knowing what you want and the ability to express it. His research demonstrated that the more confident a person is in his or her ideas, the more likely they are to maintain those beliefs over time. These deep-seated principles lead to a capacity to speak with greater conviction.

Now, conviction doesn’t guarantee success. However, a lack of it almost always guarantees failure. Conviction is a personal and deep-seated belief that compels companies to move forward despite doubt and cynicism. It drives decision-making, promises action, tolerates risk, and overcomes doubt. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but instead it progresses over time through both positive and negative experiences. In many cases it develops by observing the successes and failure of others.

Travis Bradberry, a leadership expert and co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 said, “In business, things change so quickly that there’s a great deal of uncertainty about what’s going to happen next month, let alone next year. Leaders with conviction create an environment of certainty for everyone.”

How might this apply to your next speaking opportunity?

If you are speaking, leading a meeting/presentation/etc., you are presumed to be a person of authority on the topic. Don’t give your audience any reason to doubt their assumption coming into the presentation. Before any speaking opportunity, consider your topic, the audience, and your ultimate objective. Explore your personal feelings, beliefs, and level of conviction on what you’re addressing. Not feeling as confident or sure about the material? Spend more time with it and prepare more. As you put in the time to be prepared, and as you truly consider the impact of your words, true conviction will grow—if not, you might want to consider why you don’t have conviction!

Don’t fear the power of conviction. Use it as a tool for self-improvement and professional development. Challenge yourself to truly think about any and all of your opportunities to speak and the objective of why you’re being asked to speak—channel your inner conviction, and ignite conviction in others.

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