International Women’s Day – Communicate with Clarity & Confidence

March 8, 2019

To celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’m sharing a snippet of Tara Mohr’s wisdom from her book Playing Big – Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead.  She has invaluable insights into the “little things” women do in their speech and writing which convey tentativeness, self-doubt and self-deprecation.  Are you using some of these?

Here are three of those common undermining speech habits:

“Just” –  For example, ‘I’m just concerned that……’, ‘I just want to check in and see…’, ‘I’m just curious…’.  Using this word can communicate an apologetic tone as if you are inconveniencing your listener or need to justify yourself.  It diminishes the strength of your statement or question. 

“Actually” –  Does this sound familiar, “I actually disagree”, “I actually have a question”, “I actually think…..”  Using this word (or in my opinion ‘basically’ has the same effect) can weaken your message and may sound as if you are surprised that you have a question or want to disagree.

“Kind of/ Almost” – I am sure you have heard, “I kind of think we should revise the report” and “I almost think we should change our strategy”.  These words and phrases, like the other two above are called ‘hedges’ by linguists, whose research shows lower-power and lower-status people in any group use more often.  

Work at avoiding these words and phrases in your written and spoken language when your purpose is to communicate with clarity, decisiveness and confidence.