Updated: Jun 25
The words we use and how we say them affect the way others perceive us.
In the workplace, and in life, you want to be perceived as capable, smart, an empathic leader,etc (* insert your own aspirational value here).
There are some words we habitually use or behaviors that are ingrained within us that prevent us from showing up as our best, most capable selves.
Here are a few ways you can make your communication sound more confident and professional.
1. Limit your "Thank you" usage.
Count how many times you say ‘thank you’ during a conversation.
Is the gratitude earned?
Be conscious of over-thanking, especially when no one has done anything for you yet.
Original: Thanks, Peggy! Thank you SO much for replying so fast. Can you send that over by today? Thanks again! – Joan
Updated: Thanks, Peggy! Can you send that over today? – Joan
2. Get out of the "I'm sorry..." trap.
Do you ever find yourself saying “I’m sorry, but…?”
Most of our hands are probably raised.
So let’s all make a collective effort to stop apologizing for nothing.
Original: I’m sorry, the Steering Committee meeting is at that time. Can we move the discussion to later?
Updated: Can we move the discussion to 2 pm ET? I have a conflict during our original time. – Joan
3. Avoid saying "Does that make sense?"
This phrase can convey uncertainty on the part of the speaker or doubt in the ability of the audience to understand what was just shared.
Instead, try asking something like, “What are your thoughts?”
This will give the audience the chance to think about what you’ve just shared, and their reactions and feedback will help you understand how well they understood and relate to the material.
4. Omit filler words.
Think words like, “kinda”, “just”, “actually”, “maybe”, “Like I said,” “I’m like…”.
Next time you present, try to record yourself and watch the playback so you can catch just how often you use these filler words.
Original: Well, like, I kinda actually think this could work.
Updated: This could work.
5. Show yourself.
I get it.
Zoom meetings can be tiring by the middle of the week, and it’s important to show your smiling self on camera whenever you can.
Making that face-to-face connection with your direct reports, colleagues, and clients can go a long way toward building your professional brand, not to mention, camaraderie and trust.
I hope these help.
I love hearing about your experiences, share in the comments how making these changes helped you.