Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Pay attention while speaking about your accomplishments or writing a proposal. Are you weakening your case without realizing it?

Meredith Fineman, author of Brag Better, gives the example of a client saying she was “trying” to disrupt her industry. In fact, she had disrupted it 20 years earlier. “Don’t take yourself out of the running before you’ve even set foot on the track,” Fineman advises. Instead, it’s essential that you are “proud and grounded in the work you have actually done.”

You’re also undercutting yourself when you preface a fact with “I feel that…,” “I’m not sure, but…” or “It seems to me that…”

The same effect happens when your intonation implies a question for something you actually know.

Verbal (or nonverbal) undercutting “makes your audience disengage,” Fineman notes. “It makes them wonder whether they should stand behind you, because they can sense the anxiety in your delivery.”

Feedback can tell you whether your speaking and writing project the solid confidence that makes the best impression. When you stand tall in your knowledge and expertise, others pay attention.