Minimizing words like “just” and “little” slip into our vocabulary unconsciously and more often than not, they are unnecessary and weakening. Awareness around the words we choose to use have a tremendous impact on our communication. It can even affect our level of influence. As leaders and business owners we sometimes find ourselves in a position where we must inspire vision. To do this well, establishing a presence of confidence and trust is critical.
This is not “self-policing” but rather “self-management.” Instead of focusing solely on words to eliminate, we would also suggest finding words or making simple sentence structure changes that will make your communication more impactful.
For example, “I just started this little cooking business.” can be restated as “I started a cooking business.”
There are other minimizing words or phrases to consider replacing. Like Jerry Weissman mentions in this HBR article,
“The words, “I think” introduce doubt, even if only subliminally, in the minds of your audience. As a presenter attempting to persuade an audience, your job is to provide them with as much certainty as you can. The way to get from doubt to certainty is to switch from the conditional to the declarative mood by eliminating the offending words.”
We may not always be communicating to inspire vision. However, the way we speak about ourselves and our businesses matters. It is not gloating to speak to your accomplishments and the work you are doing if it is in fact true. Say exactly what you mean and eliminate and replace words that undermine your confidence.
If you missed Part Two of the series, “Stop Apologizing: Cutting Out the Word “Sorry”, you can read that here.