Communication is essential, that much is true. However, it is not always easy to communicate. There may be times when you say one thing, but your recipient perceives it differently. This gives rise to miscommunication, a potential argument and possibly even a long-lasting conflict.
One of the most common culprits for miscommunication is being cocky. No one wants to talk to someone who’s a know-it-all who rubs it in your face. This instantly makes people perceive you negatively, and in turn, it can drastically affect your relationships with other people.
How to avoid being cocky
There may be instances when you feel like you’re being mislabeled as cocky, when you’re just expressing yourself. But just to be on the safe side, it’s best to follow these tips in order ensure that you don’t leave a bad impression on the people you talk to.
#1 Preface the opinion with the phrase, “I could be wrong but…” If you begin the expression of your opinion with this phrase, then it lets the people you are talking to know that you are aware of the possibility that you might be wrong.
By doing so, you show them that you accept the fact that you are not always right. This alone can reduce the appearance of arrogance, and can make you seem like a more reasonable, gentler person.
#2 Genuinely listen to counter opinions. If you express an opinion on a particular topic, it is not a good idea to just dismiss anything that the other person has to say after this. If you dismiss them automatically, it will make you seem like a real douche.
But, on the other hand, if you calmly listen to their response, then they will feel that you have given them enough respect and paid attention to what they had to say. People speak to be listened to, and when the person you’re talking to realizes that you’re open enough to listen to what they had to say, then this can be enough to make you seem less arrogant. [Read: 10 simple ways to deal with difficult people]
#3 Cite your opinions with facts, if you can. The importance of facts is that it makes your opinion more credible. If you can bring up facts to back up your opinion, then you don’t come across as unreasonable or immature. Instead, you will come across as an intelligent person who has done the research, and who knows what he or she is talking about.
However, never, ever try to fabricate your facts or misattribute the source of your facts. When you’re found to be pulling “facts” out of your ass, then you’re the one who’s going to look more like an ass.
#4 Mind your tone of voice. This is one of the most telling nonverbal cues that people are most likely to notice. When you’re expressing your opinion, try not to sound like you’re shoving that opinion down peoples’ throats. Instead, opt for a friendly and calm tone to ensure that no conflicts will arise because of people perceiving your cockiness.
#5 Mind your body language. In a similar way to tone, body language can express a lot of emotion. If you are too dominant with your body language, then this can make people think you’re being way too dominant, and therefore arrogant.
So avoid finger pointing, a haughty look on your face, looking down your nose at other people or crossing your arms authoritatively. Avoiding these and opting for a more relaxed and comfortable posture will help to make other people feel more comfortable in return. The more comfortable they feel, the less likely you are to be perceived as cocky.
#5 Don’t hog all of the conversation. If you have been talking a lot, or suspect that you have been having more of your fair share of the focus of the conversation, then try to talk less and listen more. You can throw a question out there for other people to answer, or you can politely pause to let other people start speaking. This can give the impression that you are kind and respectful, instead of arrogant and disrespectful.
#6 Don’t rub it in the other person’s face if it turns out you are right. Doing this shows a lack of respect for the other person or people’s feelings. It not only makes you seem cocky, but it also makes you seem like a jerk. So, even if you are really excited about being correct, make sure that you are sensitive to the other people around you when you express your happiness about this.
#8 Ask the other person questions. In addition to listening to other people’s opinions, asking them questions can help display a genuine interest in what they have to offer to the conversation. Asking questions will help the situation seem a lot more give and take, and a lot less like you ushering your opinions in an arrogant manner.
#9 Give the other person time to reflect on what you have said. If you give an opinion, it isn’t helpful to say, “Right? Right?” afterward. This can give the impression of impatience and arrogance. Instead, you can try allowing a few seconds to pass before you reply. This will give the person time to think about what you have said, without being interrupted, and it should help them feel like they are being treated with respect. [Read: 15 tips to get more people to like you]
#10 Respond respectfully when the other person gives an opinion. Occasionally someone may give an opinion on something that you don’t agree with. Rather than shoving your counter opinion down their throat at the soonest opportunity in the conversation, respond respectfully and at the appropriate time.
It can be difficult at times to wait for the appropriate time to respond when someone says something you completely disagree with. But by mentally counting off a few seconds, you can avoid impulsively lashing out and offending the person you’re talking to.
[Read: 10 simple tips to avoid being rude in any situation]
The way that you express your opinions can have a real impact on how you are perceived. It is oftentimes a great thing to be perceived as confident. However, many people do not like to be viewed as cocky. With just a few tweaks of your conversational patterns, you can go from seeming cocky to seeming confident instead!
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