If you need to share some idea at work, you need to know how to communicate it. It all starts with building confidence. But the challenge that many professionals have are the bad speech habits that have been conditioned in us over the years. Without us even knowing it, these verbal crutches can negatively impact how we’re perceived at work.
Are you putting yourself at a disadvantage due to your speech habits? Check out are you using those sentences in your vocabulary, and learn how to kick them:
“I’m no expert, but…”
Sometimes women preface their sentences, such as, “I’m not sure what you think, but…” This speech habit typically crops up because we want to avoid sounding arrogant, or we fear being wrong. The problem is, using this can negate the credibility of your statements. We all sometimes offer opinions that don’t go anywhere or prove to be incorrect. That’s the nature of being human, and it won’t cost you your job or reputation.
How to Quit: If you know you’re prone to using qualifiers, breathe in for a count of three before speaking up in a meeting or on a phone call. This pause gives you time to rethink and rephrase your sentences, giving your words a greater impact.
This word minimizes the power of your announcement and can make you seem defensive or even apologetic. Saying, “I just wanted to check in,” can you, “Sorry for taking up your time, I just” or “Sorry if I’m bugging you, I just” It can often be a defense mechanism subconsciously used to shield ourselves from the rejection of hearing “no” or a way to avoid the discomfort of feeling like we’re asking for too much.
How to Quit: Start by rethinking or rereading your emails and texts. Scan two times your written communications for excess “just”s that sneak in. Than delete them. Notice how much straightforward the statements sound. Then gradually practice that in real-time, spoken communication.
When you say “I can’t,” you give up ownership and control over you actions. “Can’t” is passive, whereas saying you “won’t” do something is active. It shows that you can put your own boundaries. Saying “I can’t” conveys that you don’t have the skill to do something. Throwing around “I can’t” connotes a fear of failure or lack of will in testing your limits.
How to Quit: Increase ownership over your sentences by replacing “I can’t” with “I won’t.” It might feel intimidating at first, it gives you a chance to assert your boundaries for a better work-life balance.
“What if we tried…?”
You’re more likely to be taken seriously when you straightforwardly state your ideas, rather than propose them as a question. Masking your opinions as questions invites rebuttal and can lead to you feel criticized. Stating an idea as a question when is too equal to sacrificing ownership over the idea. This may tie back to the inner fear many professionals have of being “not good enough.”
How to Quit: Anytime you have a suggestion, present it in a form of a statement rather than a question. “What if we tried targeting a new set of customers?” sounds much less certain than “I think we could target a new set of customers who will be more receptive to our sales efforts.”
During brainstorming, everyone are throwing out questions the group. So before you share your idea, run it through your head first in the form of a question, and then as an “I believe” or “I think…” statement. This makes a stronger case for the point you are trying to get across.
“Am I Making Sense?”
By periodically asking, “Am I explaining this alright?” or “Does that make sense?” you open up the possibility for your audience to wonder whether, in fact, you are. Probably doing this out of a belief that you’re encouraging, but in fact it speaks to an underlying belief you may have that you’re an impostor and unqualified to be speaking on the matter.
How to Quit: If you want to increase interaction, it’s better to say, “I look forward to hearing your opinions or questions.” This will make you take the responsibility for “fixing” situations and making sure everyone understands you.