9 phrases that instantly make you sound more assertive and confident

Clifton Kopp by Clifton Kopp | May 17, 2024, 12:50 pm

Being assertive and confident isn’t always about what you do, but what you say.

The right phrases can project an image of self-assuredness and decisiveness that commands respect.

But striking that balance between sounding commanding and not coming off as arrogant can be a bit tricky.

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

I’ve compiled a list of nine phrases that can instantly make you sound more assertive and confident.

Sprinkle these into your conversations, and watch how the dynamics change.

You’ll be surprised by the impact of your words.

1) “I believe…”

Assertiveness and confidence often start with the conviction of your beliefs.

In conversations, whether personal or professional, stating your views with “I believe…” can be a game-changer.

This phrase lets the other person know that you stand firmly behind your ideas and opinions.

However, it’s not just about sounding assertive.

When you use “I believe…”, it also implies that you respect the other person’s right to have a different opinion.

It’s a polite but powerful way to express disagreement or share a unique perspective.

Certainly, it’s crucial not only to assert personal beliefs but also to provide compelling reasons, bolstering your statements for greater persuasiveness.

This isn’t about imposing your views on others but rather about articulating your thoughts firmly and confidently, supported by well-founded justifications.

It’s a subtle yet effective way of asserting yourself without coming off as pushy or domineering.

2) “I can…”

“I can…” is a phrase that screams self-assurance.

It speaks of your abilities and your readiness to take on tasks.

Let me share a personal example.

Early in my career, I was part of a project with a tight deadline.

When our team lead asked who could handle an extra task, I immediately stepped up and said, “I can handle it.”

Not only did this phrase reflect my confidence in my abilities, but it also showed my willingness to take responsibility.

It instantly elevated me in my team leader’s eyes and earned me respect among my peers.

Using “I can…” effectively asserts your capabilities and demonstrates a proactive attitude.

It’s a simple way to position yourself as a go-getter who’s ready to take on challenges head-on. 

3) “Let’s consider…”

The phrase “Let’s consider…” is a powerhouse of assertiveness.

It subtly directs the conversation while providing an inclusive tone.

When you use “Let’s consider…”, you’re inviting others to join you in exploring different viewpoints or solutions, implying a level of respect for their input.

Interestingly, this phrase has roots in the world of negotiation and diplomacy.

Diplomats frequently use it to steer discussions towards a consensus, focusing on common ground rather than differences.

“Let’s consider…” is a diplomatic way of asserting your leadership in a conversation without appearing bossy or domineering.

It shows that you value collaboration and are open to other perspectives, while firmly guiding the conversation in your desired direction.

4) “I understand…”

Assertiveness isn’t just about voicing your own ideas and opinions.

It also involves demonstrating empathy and understanding the viewpoints of others.

The phrase “I understand…” does just that.

It signals that you’ve listened to the other person’s perspective and have taken the time to process it.

By starting your response with “I understand…”, you’re acknowledging their viewpoint before offering your own, which can make your position more palatable to them.

Sounding assertive doesn’t mean bulldozing over others’ opinions.

It means standing up for your thoughts while also showing respect for the thoughts of others. “I understand…” is a great way to strike this balance.

5) “I will…”

Confidence often lies in certainty, and what better way to exhibit certainty than by using the phrase “I will…”.

This phrase showcases your commitment and determination to take action.

“I will…” leaves no room for doubt.

It communicates your intention clearly and assertively, showing that you have a plan and are ready to execute it.

Whether you’re saying “I will finish this project by Friday” or “I will speak up in the next meeting”, you’re demonstrating your resolve to follow through on your promises.

Using “I will…” is a powerful assertion, but it should be backed up by your actions to maintain your credibility.

6) “I appreciate…”

In the journey towards being assertive and confident, never underestimate the power of expressing genuine appreciation.

The phrase “I appreciate…” is an excellent tool to show gratitude while highlighting your self-assuredness.

It recognizes the contributions of others while radiating positivity and warmth.

Saying “I appreciate your help” or “I appreciate your understanding” not only makes the other person feel valued, but it also underlines your emotional intelligence.

Being assertive doesn’t mean you have to be cold or aloof.

On the contrary, expressing appreciation can strengthen relationships and create a positive atmosphere, which in turn can boost your confidence.

7) “I need…”

There’s a common misconceptions that asking for help is a sign of weakness.

But in reality, it’s a strong assertion of your needs.

The phrase “I need…” is direct, clear, and unambiguous.

It communicates your requirements without beating around the bush.

There was a time when I was juggling multiple projects and felt overwhelmed.

Instead of suffering in silence, I approached my manager and said, “I need some assistance with these tasks.”

It was a simple statement, but it made my needs clear and was met with understanding and support.

Being assertive means clearly expressing your needs and expectations.

Don’t shy away from saying “I need…” when necessary.

It can be empowering and liberating.

8) “I’m confident that…”

If you want to showcase your confidence, sometimes it’s as easy as saying it out loud.

The phrase “I’m confident that…” not only communicates your self-belief, but it also sets positive expectations for the future.

Whether you’re saying “I’m confident that we can meet this deadline” or “I’m confident that our team can win”, you’re projecting a positive and assertive outlook.

This phrase does more than just express your self-assuredness—it inspires others to trust in your abilities and leadership.

It can be a powerful motivator in team settings or when you’re advocating for your ideas.

9) “No.”

This is perhaps the most important phrase when it comes to assertiveness—simply saying “No”.

Being assertive means valuing your time, energy, and boundaries.

And sometimes, to do that, you need to say “No.”

It can be tough, especially when you’re used to pleasing others, but it’s necessary.

“No” is clear, and direct, and leaves no room for misinterpretation.

It shows that you respect yourself enough to set boundaries.

Saying “No” doesn’t mean you’re being rude or unkind.

It just means you know your limits and are not afraid to communicate them.

That’s true confidence and assertiveness right there.

Food for thought: The power of language

The art of assertiveness and confidence often lies in the subtleties of our language.

Studies have shown that the choice of our words can significantly influence our perception and the perception others have of us.

Consider the phrases we’ve discussed.

They are simple, everyday phrases, yet they carry a profound impact when used appropriately.

They can shape our conversations, relationships, and indeed, our lives.

When you say “I believe…”, “I can…”, “I appreciate…”, or even a simple “No”, you’re not just communicating your thoughts.

You’re asserting your presence, your self-belief, and your respect for others.

Reflect on the language you use. Are your words projecting the confidence and assertiveness you wish to convey?

Language is a powerful tool at your disposal. Use it wisely.