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When we think of confident people, we often think of people who seem commanding, authoritative or “large and in charge.” In truth, however, people who come across as being overconfident or confident to the point of almost being brash are often actually insecure and trying desperately to cover for it. In truth, confident people are often the most quiet and in some cases are almost invisible. There are ways, however, to look and sounds competent and confident in almost any situation. Here are three ways to sound competent and confident in almost any conversation.

Always be ready to admit what you don’t know

People who are confident are secure in the knowledge that they have expertise in a wide range of fields or topics but that they also do not know everything. They are also eager learners that don’t feel the need to pretend they know things they really don’t. They know what topics they can discuss or debate competently and which ones they can’t. Nothing will show your incompetence more quickly than trying to prove your knowledge on a topic you know actually know little to nothing about. Therefore, truly competent people retain their confidence by not even attempting to wade into waters they know they are over their head in.

Ask intelligent questions

Competence isn’t always about what you know, it’s also about how you go about finding out about what you don’t know. When you find yourself engaged in a discussion that is clearly over your head, learning how to ask intelligent questions can go a long way towards establishing your competence and even give you greater confidence. You don’t have to be the world’s foremost expert on anything to be able to discuss even the most complex topics intelligently if you just learn how to ask the right questions.

Use your voice well

We all know the importance of a good, strong handshake and other small personal cues that tell someone a lot about you right up front. What’s true of your handshake is also true of your voice. Overall, a lower pitch helps you sound more confident and trustworthy, but a higher pitched voice can help you seem more warm and friendly, which helps put people at ease. The same way you can practice your handshake, you can also practice using your voice in different ways to achieve different results.