Regardless of your intentions, people judge you as being confident or arrogant by your speaking habits and their own self-confidence and histories. You can’t control their judgment but you can assess if your speaking habits could be misunderstood as self-serving. Then you can practice presenting in ways that demonstrate your confidence.
Even if arrogance is a clear cover for low self-esteem, the behaviors tend to drain the joy from conversations. Note that this post is about arrogance as a communication style, not a narcissistic personality. Narcissists might show up as arrogant or charming.
Whereas confidence comes from self-measurement (how am I doing compared to last time), arrogance stems from other-measurement (how am I doing compared to others). Arrogance comes from the need to project superiority to be deemed credible or worthwhile.
Arrogant-sounding speakers read challenges in other people’s words and react with defensiveness and competitiveness. Triumph generates self-righteousness. Loss breeds anger towards others and themselves. Communication becomes negative or abrasive.
People who project arrogance despise feeling “less than” but often do. Arrogant people love idols who they think model power.
Here are seven speaking habits that lead to labeling someone as “arrogant.”
Confident people measure their success on their own accomplishments, not how much better they did when compared to others. Although humans have a natural tendency to compare themselves to others, confident people don’t get caught up in the “less than-better than” loop of self-judgment.
This measure of success shows up in these seven speaking habits often labelled, “confident.”
Do you want to know if people see you as confident or arrogant? You can assess yourself based on this post by monitoring your habits, especially in contentious conversations. However, humans have the wonderful ability to quickly justify and rationalize their behaviors. It would be better to ask someone you trust to give you an honest assessment and examples of both expressions of confidence and arrogance.
Although speaking habits are difficult to break, you can deliberately practice new habits of listening and responding, creating new habits over time. If you have some arrogant habits, give yourself time to adjust. Watch how you judge yourself, allowing yourself to slip without giving up.
I often have my coaching clients do a Personal Power Inventory. In the least, I ask them to list 5 to 7 characteristics that help them be successful. I ask them to recall a moment where they overcame difficulties to succeed. Then I ask, “What did you call forth beyond your skills and knowledge, that helped you to prevail?” They name traits like “optimistic, resilient, flexible, keen to learn, courageous, generous, and a good sense of humor.”
Before your next conversation, smile, breath, and recall your list. Remember who you are at your best. Then speak with curiosity and care for other’s feelings and ideas.
How people judge you on the confidence or arrogance scale will have an impact on your relationships and results. If you want to relate to others in a positive manner, seek to feel and express confidence.
With over 36 years of coaching experience, Dr Marcia Reynolds became one of the first 25 people in the world to become a ICF Master Certified Coach. She was also one of the first 25 people to join the Profitable Leadership Coaching Network. If you enjoyed this article, do visit our blog to read more articles by Dr Reynolds, our founder Tony Latimer and many other coaches on our network.
For more information about Dr Marcia Reynolds, please visit her website.
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