I am asked about CONFIDENCE more than I am asked about any other communication topic, strategy or device. Often after CONFIDENCE is asked about, the next question will be in regards to ARROGANCE. Because if you can’t define CONFIDENCE, then you can’t feel comfortable that you are not being arrogant. Most people are more worried about appearing arrogant than they are concerned about appearing confident.
In fact, I have found that the more people “fear” arrogance the more they fear confidence. They don’t understand the differentiation between the two so they stay away from both. This is a shame because while they are kind of like cousins, they are distant cousins not kissing cousins. Although related the concepts don’t look like each other, act like each other, or work like each other. Each concept moves toward different results.
You need to know my working definitions:
CONFIDENCE is the belief you have or are the best solution.
ARROGANCE is the belief you have nothing left to learn.
When Trump was one of 17 GOP candidates, I would say that his “style” came across to many as more like confidence than arrogance. When he was one of 17, we heard less often from him and when we heard from him it was in soundbites rather than keynotes. Those soundbites may have sounded to many as though he had or was the best solution.
When he became the nominee he was no longer providing soundbites, he was the soundbite. There were no other candidates to take some of the attention away from Trump. Now every word, gesture and nuance was noticed by the press and everybody watching and listening.
When Trump was a high school student, he is on tape saying that he was the greatest baseball player in New York City. That is a period after that sentence with no exceptions for the great Yankee players of his era. Would you define that as confidence or arrogance
He says he knows more about the Iran deal than the generals. Is that confidence or arrogance? Confidence has verbal, vocal and visual components and arrogance has verbal, vocal and visual components.
The reason the distinction is important is that your audience: your audience of co-workers, employees, clients, prospects or members of your profession want to follow a confident leader not an arrogant leader. Candidates and office holders are such a public example to the world. We NEED to emulate the qualities that are successful in a leader. Ask yourself if someone is successful because of a quality or in spite of a quality?
Ask yourself if a successful person that you want to emulate communicates confidence or arrogance?