Chief Executive Insights

Want to become more persuasive? Here’s 4 ways to back yourself

Michelle Bowden

It’s common to suffer from self-doubt and not put ourselves in situations where we might make a mistake or embarrass ourselves. After all, no one wants to be thought of as a fool, especially when we are persuading someone to agree with our big idea. The Commanding Eagle is one of the four approaches to persuasion. Commanding Eagles have with undeniable personal authority naturally exude confidence and conviction in their ability and ideas – they always back themselves. When you back yourself and have faith in yourself and your ideas it is very contagious.

So, what does it mean to back yourself? It’s about having faith in yourself. You know you can do it. Commanding Eagles are confident about their strengths, they know they have the runs on the board and that they are the best person for the job at hand. They are passionate and committed to their causes. They are confident at articulating their perspective and they don’t back down easily unless the evidence is compelling. Because Commanding Eagles take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with others and contribute to their favourite causes as a way of building their expertise and skills, they generally move through life feeling excellent.  Let’s take a look at 4 ways to back yourself:

  1. Journal.
    One way to make sure you back yourself is to use a journal to note down all your strengths. Don’t be shy about this. Write them all down and them celebrate this daily. Another way to build your confidence in communication is to use your journal to express what you think (and why you think it) about a variety of issues and challenges. Use your writing to clarify your thinking and refine your perspectives. This in turn means you’ll be better able to express what you mean when the time is right.
  2. File compliments.
    Start a file or folder where you store positive memories including compliments and praise from others.  When you are feeling less than confident you can read through the file and give yourself a boost.
  3. Remember you are the expert.
    Do everything you can to be an expert in your field and own your lane. Strive to know everything you can about all aspects of your niche. It’s very important to believe you are the best person for the job, your idea is excellent, your products and services are second to none. You’ll be best placed to feel this way about yourself if you’ve done the work. You may know that Malcom Gladwell the best-selling author says it takes 10,000 hours to become an exceptional person who is superior in their field of expertise. Today is the day to focus on getting those 10,000 hours under your belt so you can back yourself in every circumstance.
  4. Manage conflict.
    We all move through life dealing with the contrary opinions of others that test our boundaries. When someone tries to railroad you or force you into something you believe is wrong it’s time to stretch your Commanding Eagle wings. Strive to deal with conflict in a functional way where everyone wins. There’s a fantastic model for managing conflict that involves five steps; state the objection, say ‘and’ or ‘so’ or pause, then say ‘actually’ or in fact’, then solve the objection, then use the word because.

What could you do to start the process of realising your strengths so that you are even better at backing yourself and your ideas?


Edited extract from How to Persuade: The skills you need to get what you want (Wiley $29.95, 1 Aug 2022) by Michelle Bowden.
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Michelle Bowden
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. She is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile® (a world-first psychological assessment that reports on your persuasiveness at work). Michelle is also the best-selling author of How to Present: The Ultimate Guide to Presenting Your Ideas and Influencing People Using Techniques that Actually Work (Wiley) and has delivered her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass more than 950 times for over 12,000 people.


Michelle Bowden is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.