Eight Statements To Permanently Erase From Your Vocabulary

Communication can be tricky. You want to appear self-assured, but not cocky. You want to be friendly, but not insecure. Whether you are typing an email to a client or picking up the phone for a sales call with a prospect, it is important to use the right phrases—and nix the wrong ones.

Journalist Hillary Richard has put together eight statements that you should always avoid because they unintentionally make you sound weak or unsure. Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Richard’s eight phrases to eliminate from your vocabulary today.

1. “I could be wrong.” Unless you believe that you are always right, you do not need to qualify your ideas with this statement. Richard says this phrase undermines your thoughts before they have even had a chance to land. While you might be tempted to say this to avoid appearing confrontational, you invite dissension, which can lead to the confrontation you were trying to avoid.

2. “Just my opinion.” When you share your thoughts or ideas in a conversation, it’s understood that you are offering your opinion. That’s why there’s no need to say this phrase, which can make your idea seem insignificant. According to Richard, if you feel the need to belittle your own thoughts out loud, why should your colleagues or clients respect them?

3. “It’s out of my hands.” This is a way for you to relinquish all responsibility. It’s basically like saying, “I can’t do anything about this.” Leaders who say this sound weak and lose trust. If you are not a leader and you say this, you end up sounding incompetent. No matter what the situation, this phrase does not make anyone feel better.

4. “I’m sorry.” Yes, sometimes a genuine apology is necessary in the workplace. But when you reach out to request someone’s time and apologize in the process, you show that you do not value your own time or think your request is important. Never say things like “I’m sorry to bother you” or “I’m sorry to follow up so soon.”

5. “Would it be possible …?” Fill in the blank here. Chances are, you have used this statement before. However, Richard says this phrase undercuts both you and whatever you are about to propose. When the other person hears these words, they automatically think it may be impossible. Your request takes on new unintended layers. Instead, say something like “Can you send me your response by Thursday?” or “Can we present this instead?”

6. “I hope that’s okay.” This is a common statement to drop at the end of a big ask. But what if it’s not okay? Richard says you give up your authority when you make this statement. Even if the other person is not okay with what you have just said, the task probably still has to get done.

7. “I feel like …” According to Richard, this phrase is valuable when navigating a dispute, but it minimizes your power if you say it in a meeting. Instead of saying “I feel like we should start the campaign with this product” simply say, “Let’s start the campaign with this product.”

8. “Does that make sense?” This question makes you seem insecure, so stop using it. Richard says that instead of rallying the troops to stand behind your idea, this question makes you seem weak by needing to have others approve your thoughts.

You may have the best intentions when you say the phrases above, but these statements undercut your expertise. Remember the value you bring with your ideas and thoughts, and avoid using phrases that make you seem insecure.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Hillary Richard is a journalist and content creator for international outlets including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune and The Ladders.

filed under August 2020
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