Avoid These 5 Phrases to Sound More Confident When You Speak
When it comes to communication, the language we choose to say precisely what we want to say can make a huge difference.
You might feel great about an idea, only to flounder and become embarrassed when you try to share it. Sometimes, this is because the thought is hard to conceptualize, and others, it's because we self-sabotage by using words that don't convey confidence.
In fact, we've identified some key phrases to avoid that'll help you sound and feel more confident when you speak. Keep reading to find out about the top five offenders and why it's important to cut them out.
Many women are raised to apologize for pretty much everything, and it's time we broke that bad habit. You shouldn't feel the need to apologize for things that don't actually impact anyone or situations that aren't in your control. Most of the time, we find that gratitude will get you further than an apology. For example, telling someone, "Thanks so much for your patience," usually makes them feel a lot better than, "I'm sorry for keeping you waiting." Of course, you should make sure that you own up when you've actually done something wrong. In fact, that genuinely warranted apology will be strengthened if you're not constantly apologizing for every little thing.
When you're asking for something, the word "just" is a filler word that waters down what you're trying to say. Whether it's "I just wanted to know…" or "I was just wondering…", the phrase makes you sound unsure of yourself, as if you're apologizing in advance for your request. Remember that your wants and needs are important, so stop diminishing them with the word "just." You may even find you're more likely to get what it is you're seeking.
3. 'I don't know if this makes sense, but…'
When you start everything you say with a qualifier like this, it forces people to wonder whether you are making sense when they didn't question you before. People often say this when they're trying not to sound like a know-it-all, but instead, it makes you sound like you're not confident about what you're about to say. It's important to remember that nobody knows everything and that your input is valid. You do have credibility, so don't make people doubt it. Just drop it completely and sound like you know what you're talking about.
"Maybe" is a dangerous one because it can make you feel like you've given someone a response when it really isn't an answer at all. Whenever possible, if you can give a firm yes or no to someone, you should. If not, try to find out the information you'll need to get to that answer or provide the conditions you'll need before you know. The word "Hopefully" falls into a similar category. It makes it sound like whether something gets done or not is up to the fates, rather than to your own dedication. Avoid it if you can.
The word "maybe" is also unhelpful when you're suggesting ideas. Using a "Maybe we should…" and framing an idea as a hypothetical may feel like it shields you from potential criticism, but getting feedback is actually a good thing. Saying "I recommend…" or even "Let's…" gets the same idea across while making you sound self-assured and capable—and making others more likely to be on board with your idea.
Nobody likes a person who starts all of their contributions to the discussion with, "Well, actually…" It makes you sound like you're out to contradict everyone and demonstrate that you're the correct one. While this may seem confident on the surface, it displays a lack of self-assuredness to put others down to feel right. If you aim to add to the conversation, you can softly nudge in with a "Yes, and…", while if you do feel the need to naysay, you can do so more gently with, "We should also consider…" It gets your point across without making you sound like a know-it-all.
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