Do you want to seem more confident? Avoid these 11 words and phrases that make you seem weak


In such a competitive world, the last thing you need to do is cut yourself. But that’s what many of us are doing when we do communicate in ways that make us seem less confident, less determined and less sure of ourselves.

But there is an effective solution: replace weak words and phrases with ones that will make you sound more professional and capable.

Here’s what psychologists, linguists, recruiters, and CEOs say that you should avoid using if you want to move forward, along with simple substitutions that will make a big difference in how you are perceived:

1. “Does it make sense?”

What to say instead: “What are your thoughts?” or “I would like your input on this”.

If you ask “Does it make sense?” After you finish sharing a thought, you are immediately giving the impression that you are not convinced of yourself, that your idea may be incomplete.

Rather than seeking confirmation or approval, you should ask the listener or reader for their opinions on your idea.

2. “Maybe we should try …”

What to say instead: “Let’s try …” or “It’s a good idea to try …”

Until the mid-19th century, “maybe” was written as two words – “may” and “be” – which makes it clear that it literally refers to something that might happen, but might not.

It’s pretty watered down when you apply it to your ideas or suggestions. Either you believe what you’re talking about, or you don’t believe it.

3. “I think this would be …”

What to say instead: “I think this …”

This is a minor, but valid distinction: “I think” sounds fainter than “I believe” and is a little more dubious, as if I were saying something. could work, but you are not sure.

“I believe” puts you in charge of thought and gives you a quiet confidence. And even if you’re not so sure, no one needs to know!

4. “I’m not positive, but …” or “I’m not sure, but …”

What to say instead: Whatever you were going to say after the “but”

There is no need to add disclaimers. Similarly, if you start the sentence with “I know it might be a stupid question, but …” or “I don’t want to sound intrusive, but …”, you are weakening.

It’s an easy rule worth repeating: don’t get down on yourself. Never.

5. “I just wanted to touch the base …”

What to say instead: “I wanted to touch the base …”

How many times have you started an email with “I just wanted to ask you if …”? The problem in this case is that the “right” is a fabric softener, almost an excuse, as if I were saying “I hate to bother you, but …”

There is a time and a place for this, but corporate communication generally isn’t.

6. “Needless to say …”

What to say instead: Nothing

“Needless to say” comes from a long series of ironic phrases in which you open an argument by saying that you are not going to say something, but then you say it anyway. So why do it?

7. “In my opinion …”

What to say instead: Nothing

Get to the point and remove unnecessary and weak introductions. Anyone who is listening to you or reading what you have written knows that it is your opinion or belief. That’s why you are telling them what you are telling them!

8. “For what it’s worth …”

What to say instead: Nothing

This is another introduction that makes it seem like you are not convinced of what you are saying. And if you’re not convinced of your point, why should anyone else be?

9. “Sorry”

What to say instead: “Excuse me”

It’s okay to apologize if you did something wrong and you have to admit it, but too many people throw themselves into an “excuse” and end up undermining their image. Why say “I’m sorry if I’m bothering you” when a simple “I’m sorry” is shorter, snappier and less self-deprecating?

Psychologists suggest that people tend to think that those who abuse “I’m sorry” are ineffective and lacking in trust. If you need more conviction, keep in mind that from the 13th century onwards, the word “sorry” has been used to mean “miserable” or “useless”.

Another similar one to avoid: “I hate asking, but …” Just ask!

10. “[X] was developed to increase [X]. “

What to say instead: “I developed [X] to increase [X]. “

“I developed [X] to increase [X]”It sounds safer because it uses the active voice instead of the passive voice.

With the passive voice, the subject did something for it; with the active, the subject is doing the action. So, if you’ve created a new marketing campaign to increase brand awareness, why not use active voice and take credit up front?

11. “… if you know what I mean”


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