Do People Mistrust Confidence?

An article in this month’s HBR Experts Are More Persuasive When They’re Less Certain inspired me to think about what is really at the core of this counter intuitive finding.  I suspect that the manner of the delivery of confidence is a significant factor.  There is a big difference between assertive confidence and humble confidence.  The pervasive lack of trust in our business community broadly right now has heightened our sensitivity to confidence with an assertive or arrogant flavour.  We are much more skeptical and appreciative of confident humility, this requires the courage to discuss risks and uncertainty openly.

Moreover, I believe that we do have a deeper appreciation for exploring beyond certainty.  This is essential to meet our full potentiality and arguable to sustain growth.  There is no question, our cognitive behaviours are at play here.  We commonly overlook the insights that our irrational but highly predictive motives provide us.  We value the potential to achieve more than a guaranteed win; this needs to be considered explicitly in our approach to selling our ideas, products, or services.

How do you respond to uncertainty, does it inspire you?