There are a handful of words that, innocent as they may seem, are holding you back.
While these words are grammatically correct and socially accepted, they’ve insidiously become a hindrance to communication. Little by little, they sneak into our lexicon and rob our statements of power, confidence, and energy.
Here are five words you should avoid:
Read the following sentences aloud:
- I just feel like this is the best move.
- I feel like this is the best move.
See how “just” robs the first sentence of its power? We use “just” as a lexical hedge — that is, a word or phrase that’s meant to mitigate offense at what follows. Instead, it makes us sound passive and gives our words less meaning.
“But” is often used to introduce a contradictory phrase. For example: “I’m sorry, but we can’t help you with that.”
Whatever comes after “but” seems to contradict or deny what came before it. As a result, the listener’s defenses rise up. Such statements often come across as manipulative or insincere.
Try to find ways to express such statements without the use of the word “but.” This will make your communication more inclusive and straightforward.
If you want to do something, there’s no guarantee it will happen. Observe:
- I want to learn about the company’s structure.
- I will learn about the company’s structure.
Or, even better:
- I am learning the company’s structure.
The first option sounds flat and unpromising. The second option inspires confidence. The third option sounds like a done deal.
Imagine you’re putting on an event, and a friend says either of the following:
- I’ll try to be there.
- I’ll be there.
Experience has taught you that the friend who says “I’ll try to be there” is probably not going to be there. The friend who says “I’ll be there” seems a surer bet.
If your friend is truly unsure whether they can make it, a better response would be: “I’m not sure if I can make it. If I can, I will be there.” This sounds honest and doesn’t make them seem flaky. Be conscious of your use of the word “try.”
Ramirez, Gema. “5 Words You Use Everyday That Are Hindering Your Success.” CONSCIOUS, https://consciousmagazine.co/5-words-you-use-everyday-that-are-hindering-your-success/. Accessed 6 Jan. 2020.