Whether we like it or not, people make snap judgments about us all the time. So while it’s crucial that you develop expertise, it’s also crucial that you send the right signals that you deserve the confidence of others.

Among your most important tools? Your words. Here are a few to get you started.

1. “Here’s our expertise.”

This is about self-awareness and defining your limits ahead of time.

2. “This is the plan.”

A true professional has the knowledge and insight needed to assess a situation, and the skills and decisiveness to put together a smart plan. Decisiveness engenders confidence.

3. “I’ll find out.”

This is an attractive, proactive phrase that conveys both self-awareness and curiosity. You’re confident enough to admit the limits of your knowledge, and professional enough to commit to correcting your ignorance.

4. “That’s not possible.”

Professional, but only in the right context. It’s useful when you’re confidently advising someone away from a journey that you believe (in your experience) will be a quixotic course of action. Caveats: (a) You’d better be right; and (b) it’s an unprofessional phrase when uttered to undermine someone else’s assertion of fact, as opposed to ambition.

5. “You can count on me.”

At the end of the day, this is what we want to hear from anyone we hope is a true professional. “You can focus your attention on other things; I’ll take care of this one.”

6. “Here are the challenges.”

If you can’t articulate difficulties clearly, why would others have confidence that you’ll be able to overcome them?

7. “Follow me.”

These two words (the motto of the U.S. Army Infantry, by the way) succinctly communicate that you’re confident enough to ask others to place their trust in you–even in life and death situations.

8. “Here’s how it works.”

True professionals understand that knowledge is meant to be gained and shared. The less confident among us are afraid that others will supplant their position if they share what they know.

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