When we speak we are revealing where we are in our thinking and actions. In the old days it use to be called a Feudian Slip when you said something out loud that you wanted really to only be thinking…certainly not having everyone hear our “not so appropriate” thoughts.
Language and how we speak has become much more casual and candid in our personal and professional lives – often filled with cussing or incorrect use of the language in general. Some of it is certainly acceptable, especially with friends or telling a good joke.
What you might not be aware of, is how you sound in your communication with others and the words you use tells them about you.
Some of the more frequent language that really does not work include:
- Sort of
- Kind of
- I am sorry
I’ve noticed a trend of people beginning their sentences with Sooooo. And then saying what it is they intended to say. Beginning a sentence with So begs a pause, indicates being unsure and is a place holder like “um”. An example might be: So, what did you think of the proposal I sent to you? So, when do you think the project might get started? So, do you think you might want to have dinner with me some time?
The So is a pause showing uncertainty and indicating you need help in the next step of the conversation or actions.
Not bad, but clearly not a confident way of speaking when you are looking to produce a conclusion; sale; date; change etc.
I find that many women in business are using the words “sort of, probably and kind of”. Those words are not confidence producing for anyone who is communicating with you especially if you are a woman and you are communicating with a male.
A male would hear those words as unsure and missing confidence.
You can be competent all day long, but if you communicate the lack of confidence, it will affect your outcomes especially if the situation calls for certain accountability. Sort of, probably and kind of dismiss the certainty and indicate little accountability.
Maybe is a word that can sound whishy washy. Maybe we can, maybe we should, maybe it would be phrases do NOT inspire inspired action. They also do not inspire the hearer of those words with confidence in your ability to produce and/or your competence.
Using words that indicate less than stellar meaning, creates stress for you and the listener.
If you told me that you would probably be at the meeting and you sort of understood the outline and you kind of like it, I would worry you might not be mature enough to do anything. Certainly you did not understand my needs and wants. Sales happen because people believe you can deliver. These words indicate you might not even know what is involved in the sale or who is buying and why they need what you are selling.
Too many people, especially women, start sentences with “I’m sorry”. This is a very annoying habit that the listener has a hard time hearing. People do not know why you are apologizing and they totally do not think you are confident, competent or acting as a peer.
Men especially have a hard time hearing I’m sorry because they do not know what you are sorry for – I had a client that had to put $.25 in a jar on her desk every time she said she was sorry. In the first month she had $100.00 in the jar. The speaking habit of saying I’m sorry is effecting everything you communicate and in a negative, stress producing, lack of confidence way.
If you are “guilty” of using this ineffective language as a habit, keep track of how many times a day you use these words. You will astounded how often you are creating a dismissive communication with others.
Tell people you are working to change your language habits and ask for their help.
You might even want to put some money in a jar each time you say the ineffective words.
You will help your effectiveness in communication and confidence by shifting to more decisive and competence inducing language.
Blessings and love,
P.S. How is your listening? It is a great idea to take a listening test to see how you are doing – listening is a key skill we all could do some work on.