Sometimes, you need to speak with authority and confidence

Maybe you need to give instructions to a rebellious child.

Maybe you need to get a slow-moving group to agree on something

Maybe you need to tell someone who is harassing you to leave you alone.

In all of these circumstances, the way you speak matters. If you sound like you expect respect, you are more likely to get it than if you sound wishy-washy.

In other words, you need to speak with authority if you want people to respect your authority. Here's how you do it.


To begin speaking with authority, add deliberate pauses to your sentences.

For short sentences, add one pause at the halfway point. For longer sentences, add two pauses at the 1/3 and 2/3 mark.

For instance, if you're going to tell someone "Back off", don't say it all at once. Say "Back, off"

If you're going to say "Sit down right now", say "Sit down, right now"

If you're going to say "You need to behave and apologize to your sister" you would say "You need to behave, and apologize, to your sister.

Here's an example of what the pauses sound like. I'm not adding anything else yet, just pauses.

Try it now. Say those sentences out loud, with pauses and without. Get a feel for when the pauses will appear.


We're not done yet, though. Next, we need to add emphasis

When you are speaking with authority, all of your words should be a little more emphasized. However (and this is key) the last word before a pause should be doubly emphasized. So instead of saying "You need, to sit down" you should say "You need, to sit down."

Need an example? Here's a recording of me speaking first without authority, then with authority (proper emphasis and pauses.)

Make sure that you are also going down in pitch on this final word, rather than up in pitch. If you go up in pitch, it will sound like a question, and you don't want that.

Here's another example, first of me moving my pitch up at the end of the sentence, and a second with the pitch moved down


There's a few things to keep in mind with this.

  • Don't confuse emphasis with anger. Stay calm, and don't raise your voice. If you don't sound in control of yourself, people will not respect your authority over them.
  • Second, you only want to talk like this when you actually do have authority. Using this tone with a friend or worse, a boss, is an easy way to get yourself in trouble.
  • However, you can still use part of this tone to add confidence to your voice even when you are not trying to exert authority. All you need to do is pause and emphasize, just not as much. An example is below, of me speaking without confidence, and then with friendly confidence.