How to Make Conversation with Confidence

Smiling business woman
Written by Paul Sanders

With no confidence, you can only use something like 1% of your conversation skills. Confidence is what gives power and impact to what you say. If you don’t talk with confidence, no one can grasp or take into account what you say. Everything said with doubt is practically ignored. Especially when you’re meeting new people.

The more you talk with confidence, the more people will want to do what you suggest to them. The more confidence you show in your conversation, the more people will want to spend time with you and be your friend.

Be Confident or Speak Confidently?

Smiling business womanBefore we dive in, let’s start making a difference between BEING confident and BEHAVING confidently. “Being” is a too broad. You can’t just “be” anything. All you can do is “DO” something. “To be” is a very complex and abstract verb, I’m not going to tell you to “just be confident”. Here, we’re going to learn how to BEHAVE confidently and how to SPEAK confidently.

Conversing confidently is when you speak with a person and they can feel that you’re SURE of what you say. People prefer to talk with people who are sure of themselves.

Even if you’re not sure of something you can say loudly and clearly “I’M NOT SURE, BUT I THINK IT’S THAT WAY!”. It’s much better than to look all around the room, look down, shake and hesitate and say “It’s… (gasp) that way… I (gasp) think”.

How do people know if you’re speaking confidently, or not? Here are some signs that you’re speaking with confidence : (think of people who you’ve seen speaking confidently, notice how they did these things in the past)

  • Fixate the person (or people) you’re talking to in the eyes, the look should be as focused as a laser. But not the entire time.
  • Blink less than often
  • Raise your eyebrows a little (when it’s time to talk)
  • Relax your eyes
  • Breath deeply so you can relax the body and lay back and raise your chin a little
  • Move as little as you can
  • Clear and deep voice, speak from the diaphragm
  • And of course: smile slightly

Focus On Action First

If you want to speak confidently, and have people listen to you, like you and be your friend, you need to show these characteristics. You don’t have to say everything with a 100% confidence, but when it’s your turn to talk, talk with confidence.

Have you noticed that I haven’t told you to “be confident”? It’s because we’re focused on DOING what works, not trying to “BE” anything.

Even when it’s time to learn attitudes like “being cool” and “being funny”, it’s way better to focus on action. It’s better to focus on what to DO to deliver coolness and humor. It makes things much easier, compared with “being” something you’re just about to learn.

These signs will work for you today if you try them. I don’t care how long you have been talking in an unsure way, no matter what you want to say, to whom, if you deliver the confidence signs, people will treat you the way they treat confident people: they like them, respect them and have a tendency to want to get to know them.

How to practice this? Simple, get in front of the mirror and practice… I believe you get in front of the mirror every morning. Practice saying a couple of phrases as if you’re talking to someone else. Try introducing yourself or expressing an opinion you have while showing the “confidence signs”.

Then, practice with people that don’t know you and especially those you won’t be meeting again. Like in a nearby city. Those people will just assume that you always talk that way and accept it. And that will give you a reference that these techniques work for you.

Learn More

If you want to learn more techniques for meeting new people, I recommend that you get on my Free Social Skills Newsletter.

In it, I’ll show you the best techniques and strategies for meeting and making friends. I’ll also share with you new tips for having amazing conversations, that instantly make people want to get to know you.

See you there.
– Paul Sanders

Some Amazing Comments


About the author

Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders's Get The Friends You Want teaches you how to:
Overcome Shyness & Loneliness ; Master Conversation & Social Skills ; Make Friends & Build a Social Circle.
Start here. >> Free Social Skills Newsletter


  • Hmmm, I got no problem speaking confidently in front of a HUGE audience, but when it comes to one on one, or two on one, or just a small group, I get flushed and nervous and feel so embarrassed and humble :( It’s the same when I try to make friends with new people, my self esteem just runs out. I got noooo guts to look them in the eye when talking. I feel more comfortable avoiding , reason : I don’t want to be rude, and it feels soo awkward.

    The best feeling I ever have when speaking is when I do it in front of a huge crowd. I love the joy of expressing myself, especially in public speaking. I got no problem coming up with spontaneous speeches etc although I do wobble at times (when in competitions).

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, its the opposite when it comes to speaking privately and publicly. When publicly, I just love to make eye contact, facial expressions and show my confidence etc. I don’t really know what my problem is. Even if I do feel confident in a small group, people still think I’m timid and shy ! It’s frustrating !

    I’m finding ways to boost my self esteem ><
    I'm not really interested in having a large group of friends, bc what's the point if they're not even real friends. I do prefer a large , moderate , friendly, connection with people though ( for my own convenience , but I like to keep a limited number of friends bc I've been betrayed my trust, back stabbed etc for having too much friends -,- And I certainly learned enough from my experience to appreciate small number of friends.

  • This was a truly great post. Speaking with confidence is a HUGE part of being an effective communicator. I have learned so much about myself over the past few years as I learn to truly engage with others!

  • “With no confidence, you can only use something like 1% of your conversation skills.”
    Whether true or not, a high impact opening.
    If true, gulp !

    • Hello Ian,

      This is why we “run out of things to say”. Fact is, there are millions of things we’ve seen and heard about. How come we forget all of it? It’s because we don’t think it’ll be well perceived. Sometimes, we don’t think it’ll interest the other person.

      With confidence, the brain has better chemistry, and it can fluidly interact, without too much conscious effort.

      But, relax, you don’t need to have Brad Pitt’s confidence. You only have to raise it enough to start to socialize with ease. And of course, the best way to do that is to learn and practice the process of socializing and making friends.

      Good luck,

  • VERY smart. The decision to expand beyond the skills and consciousness you already have leads to action steps. Of course the action steps without any commitment never sustain for very long. I like how you weave the two together. Excellent post.

  • Paul,
    You are so right – practice is key!
    To me the changing point came when I was talking to someone from work who I believe to be one of the most confident people, and she said to me: ” Do you have ANY IDEA how much work being confident takes?” It made me realize that what we sometimes assume to be part of personality is actually someone’s decision to become the person they want to be.
    Also, we sometimes see ourselves in a different way than others do because we are aware of all the inner thoughts and worries, while others are not, so we just assume that we look shy/intimidated/stupid.
    So i would also suggest playing with the camera- recording your self while talking and then watching the tape- this way you can almost see yourself with someone else’s eyes:)

    • Great suggestion, Alena. The camera can be your friend.

      For too long, we thought that personality is a static part of ourselves.

      Now, with all the scientific research and drawing from our own experience, we have proof that traits of our personality change with experience and interactions.

      It’s great that you mentioned that other people DON’T know our inside lives. And sometimes, they don’t have to. If we’re just out to socialize, we need to put our worries behind us and let loose for a bit.

      Even the most extroverted people do this. They, too, have many doubts and worries inside. If you want proof of this, try to get to know a popular people in your extended social circle. Try and see if they’re as “together” as they seem to be.

      No one is perfect. :-)

  • Agree with Trevor about. Fake it till you make it. Model people who have the abilities you want to have in conversation. Also, work on body language because 93% of all communication comes from body language!

  • It’s amazing when you see your mannerisms and hear yourself talk how you have a completely different perspective on how you come across. I watched a video of me once and noticed that when I am nervous, I crack my knuckles. Watching the video made me think of how many times I did this throughout my life and what it said about me. I am much more conscious of how I handle myself because of observing myself in different situations.

  • I do raise my eyebrows but maybe a little too much which when I am conscious of it makes my communicating worse! It makes sense to DO something rather than BEING something which makes the communicating more DOable! I need to get practising to build my confidence. Thanks for the great tips!very practical!

  • I completely agree with practising in front of a mirror! I use that technique all the time when practising speeches for Toastmasters (which, by the way is another great, and completely risk-free, way in and of itself for gaining confidence in speaking). When you practise in front of a mirror you can see what your audience will be seeing when you speak in front of them… and it gives you a chance to work out any wrinkles in your presentation and improve on your performance before the actual “real” interaction.

    I also find affirmations are a really useful tool… ties in with the previous poster’s comment about “fake it ’til you make”. I find that if I keep telling myself that “I am a confident, effective speaker” or “I am a highly talented speaker”, it gives me a great boost and helps to calm my nervousness before I speak.

  • Great advice. One way to think about it is “channeling” a persona–someone uber-confident like Samuel L. Jackson–and working through the process as though you were that person.

    Though I might leave the swear words to a minimum :)

  • Fake it until you make it? Easier said than done, but true nonetheless. Speaking with confidence is such an impressive skill. When mastered, it makes even the smallest person seem like a giant.

    I like the idea of practicing, but damn if I don’t feel like a tool doing it. I just need to get over myself and get to it.


  • A turning point came in my life when I decided I would be the same person on the outside as I was on the inside. Then the confidence came in mass.

    • Honesty and transparency take your confidence to a new level, no doubt, Kudos for that.

      This is also what I advise my readers to do: be a little more transparent than you’re used to being. Get out of your protective shell, gradually.

      Why is it good for people who want to make friends?…

      It makes others open up! They figure you’re just as vulnerable and “human” as they are, so they open up to you and get to know you.

      Thanks, Josh

  • Thanks for the advice. My hardest problem is confidence and finding the right words to say. I like Vincents idea of practicing in front of the mirror.

  • Getting in front of a mirror and practicing is a GREAT idea. Many people would hear that and assume it is ridiculous because who talks to themselves in a mirror? Sitcom characters trying to prepare for a date? No, it is actually a very important thing to practice.

    I’d also like to add that becoming genuinely interested in others is a great motivator to appear more confident.

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