Small Mistakes, Big Consequences: Remove these words ASAP!!!

by Anne Baum

We can all agree that perception matters more than we’d all like, and that is true for the words we use as much as it is for our behavior. Little words can make a big impact, and we often use them as filler words without realizing how easily they take away the impact of our statements.

Carefully considering the words we use and removing these tricky phrases, our vocabulary words make a big difference in our communications’ success! These words and phrases take away the power of our messaging and create a perception that is less than ideal.

Here are some examples:

“I think or I believe” – implies a lack of confidence or uncertainty, e.g., “I think the results are solid.” vs. “These results are solid.”

“Just” – minimizes the value of the statement, e.g., “I just need a few minutes of your time” vs. “I am scheduling a meeting to discuss this important topic.”

“I’m sorry” – implies responsibility for something out of your control, e.g., “I’m sorry it’s raining” vs. “It’s too bad that it rained today and put a damper on our plans.”

 “, but” – minimizes whatever was said before the comma, e.g., “This presentation was excellent, but next time don’t take so long” vs. “This presentation was excellent and next time, let’s use less time to have a greater impact with our message.”

“I’m not gonna lie” or “To be honest” – implies that you usually aren’t honest or typically do lie – “I’m not gonna lie, the delivery date was delayed” vs. “Unfortunately, the delivery date was delayed due to weather.”

“Kinda, sorta, like, ya know, um, uh” ¬– creates distractions and remove focus from the full message, e.g., “Ya know, I kinda of, like need to get your uh, help in, um sorta selling this idea” vs. “I need to get your help in selling this idea.”

These phrases take away the value of our statements and can lead to messages not being received with full confidence from others. Undermining our own statements with words like these is easily remedied. 

Pay attention to the filler words, don’t undermine statements, and you’ll be impressed with how communication improves how others perceive you and how successfully you will communicate!

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