Speaking with confidence and authority does not mean you need to talk AT your audience, nor does it mean that you need to be a “know it all.” You do not need to have all the answers either.
You do have to ask the right questions.
Here are a few things that show confidence and authority to the audience:
1. Make eye contact with each person in the room, take a deep breath (all the way to your toes), and speak to them as you would a person over a cup of coffee. This will lead you to just try and connect rather than impress.
2. Remember, it’s not about how intelligent the audience sees you, but rather how intelligent you make your audience fee. Acronyms and terminology they may not understand undermines the audience and makes you seem arrogant.
3. Make sure they understand the context of what you are saying and why it is important to THEM.
4. Demonstrate understanding of their industry, their company, personal situation, by giving examples and asking questions.
5. Don’t try to have all the answers, but make sure you ask the right quesitons. The more thought provoking, insightful, and intriguing you are as a speaker, the more credible you will be to your audience.
Remember that your audience, not only listens to you, but they also get a “feeling” off of you. You want them to “feel” the authority which means you don’t need to list all your credentials but make what you are saying digestible and actionable by them.