Swagger is a mix of positive expectation and objective indifference.
I really like swagger when I see it. Moms parenting their kids, plumbers explaining a problem, surgeons presenting options, and of course, sales people in front of prospects and customers. Swagger is not posturing. I see a lot of the Justin Bieber/Miley Cyrus version of swagger as posturing – attitude with costume over real substance. Real swagger looks and feels different and that’s why the best can pull it off, whether a parent, a surgeon or a sales person.
Positive expectation – It’s the belief that the situation will end in your favor. That’s why people with swagger don’t have to yell, interrupt or pounce when they meet resistance. When you know you are going to win in the end, you can be patient in the process. It shows up in slowing the pace of the discussion down when you are faced with objections or hostility.
Objective indifference – Surgeons present hard choices to patients. I’ve spoken to several and asked them how they maintain their composure. They say that it comes down to presenting options and consequences as honestly and completely as they can. They care deeply about their patients and they have sincere preferences that they believe the patient should choose. In the end, however, the choice is the patient’s and to keep their position of trust, they see their job as one of adviser, not sales person.
Swagger is powerful. It gets stronger with practice.