This is another in our occasional series relating to motivational speaking training.

Here, we’ll be illustrating the importance of taking yourself seriously when trying to convince others.


Almost every day we see examples of people “putting themselves down”.

Sometimes this is entirely subconscious but the clues can be seen in the person’s use of phrases such as:

  • “…then again, I’m not sure I know what I’m talking about…” 
  • “…that’s only my opinion and I could be wrong…” 
  • “…nobody usually listens to me anyway…”
  • “…even I have been known to be right at times…”
  • etc

Quite commonly, these types of expressions are used in the context of a little self-deprecating humour.  However, it’s important to note a key point here:

  • when you use expressions like these and others like them, you are subconsciously communicating to others around you that you are not confident in what you are saying!

Lack of conviction when speaking

Now sometimes there is nothing wrong with this or taking yourself lightly.  In a social situation with your family or having a laugh with your mates on an evening out, the above sort of jokey humility can be endearing whether you mean it or not.

You should be very clear though that in a more serious situation or in your day-to-day professional life, these sorts of expressions undermine your position when you are trying to convince people.

By and large, they won’t interpret that sort of language as indicating that you’re a nice person with very humble opinions about your knowledge and experience. Instead, they’re more likely to assume that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Even worse, these sorts of phrases can be “passive victim” indicators.  In other words, they indicate to more forceful personalities around you that even if gently pushed, you will concede your ground and agree to do what someone else wants you to do.

Those things signal to some that you can be safely ignored


We need to be clear that when you are engaging in motivational speaking and trying to make others take you seriously, this sort of personal “put-down” must be eliminated from your vocabulary.

That doesn’t mean that you become authoritarian, bombastic, arrogant and inflexible when trying to convince others.  If someone makes a counterpoint to something you have said and you think it is valid, graciously accept the other viewpoint without hesitation! Don’t waste your time in trying to save face by insisting on your own viewpoint if you suddenly realise you’re wrong.

However, remember though that if others perceive that you don’t take your own views and opinions seriously, as they will do if you use some of the above terminology on a regular basis, then you can be sure they won’t take you seriously either.

Of course, you should avoid trying to indicate a certainty of knowledge when, in fact, you may be far less than certain.  However, in situations where you really are clear that what you’re saying is correct, use terms such as:

  • I know that….” 
  • “we should…” 
  • ”it is important that we…” 
  • “the fact is…”
  • etc


  • “in my opinion…” 
  • “I suspect…” 
  • “I believe…” 
  • “maybe we should…” 
  • “it could be that…” 
  • “I could be wrong but…”;
  • etc

Do that and it’ll be a step towards others taking you and your opinions more seriously.