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Is Your Vocabulary Undermining Your Credibility

Communication style is a key aspect of projecting confidence and professionalism in the workplace. Developing a strong, dynamic speaking voice, clear speech, and confident body language are all essential to a confident image. However, the words we choose can also have a significant impact on how others perceive us. There are many words and phrases you may not realize can significantly undermine your credibility and damage your image. Check out our list below and see how many creep into your speech:

  • Sorry: Saying “sorry” when you have nothing to apologize for makes you sound timid and gives the impression you don’t think your speech or ideas are worth listening too. By starting a statement with, “sorry,” you discredit your message significantly. Avoid this word unless you genuinely have something to be sorry for and are making a sincere apology.:
  • Just: Inserting “just” in a sentence rarely adds any meaningful content to your message and can undermine its importance. Even if you’re not overtly apologizing, inserting the word “just” in a sentence can make it sound like an apology and make it seem like you lack confidence in yourself and your message. For example, the sentences “I’m just following up on our conversation,” or “I just wanted to ask you a question,” would both sound much more direct and professional by taking out the word “just.”
  • Kind of: “Kind of” unnecessarily weakens statements in a similar way to “just”. It can
    make you sound unsure of yourself and seem less confident in your message. Often
    people use “kind of” to make unpleasant statements seem less abrasive, especially when going against another person’s idea or opinion. However, the phrase not only undermines your own position, but sounds childish and unprofessional.
  • So: People often use “so” when launching into their elevator pitch or attempting to sell someone on their idea. It signals to your listener that what you’re about to say is rehearsed, and projects an air of inauthenticity. Take note of if you habitually start phrases or conversations with this word, and strike it from your professional vocabulary.

If you are looking to polish your communication skills be sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. For additional information call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at Jayne@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

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