The Template

Every week, I maintain THE TEMPLATE, an award-winningWinner of the 2015 Plank Center Award (public relations org.) for commitment to mentorship. blog that's been viewed more than 1.5 million times by people all over the world. In every column, I provide step-by-step instruction to help you become a stronger communicator. Like I always say, "Write well, open doors!"

5 Phrases That Make You Look Weak


Hey, I’m not sure if you have the time right now, but it would be great if you can read my latest blog post. Is that OK?

…said the weakest communicator ever.

Confidence is a powerful tool to gain respect and get stuff done. The world moves quickly today and people make decisions in the blink of an eye. Look at Amazon and its new food delivery service via the app Prime Now. Like GrubHub, UberEats and all the rest, we can now order a meal on Amazon with the click of a mouse.

But if the wording (or foodie pics) doesn’t fill us with confidence, we may spend our time and money elsewhere.

As you compose emails (and in conversation too), remove these five words/phrases from your vocabulary. They make you look weak.

1. Just

“I just want to ask you…”

“It’ll just take a minute…”

“I’m just saying…

Weak, weak, weak. “Just” is a little word with big implications. Each time we use “just,” it suggests we’re wasting someone’s time. No, if you have something important to say, then say it.

Well, anyway…it’s just a writing tip.

See how that sounds? Weak.

Moving on.

2. Sorry

Don’t apologize all over the place. In most cases, you didn’t do anything wrong. “Sorry” is more like “Sorry for bothering you” or “Sorry for taking up your time.”

Of course, if you did screw up, then yea…say “Sorry.”

But if you have worthwhile information to send in an email or say aloud, then go for it. Respect yourself and the value you add to the conversation.

Want to seem confident and like a leader? Send this email.

3. I’m not sure if you can, but…

Such an inferior tone. As if the other person is SO important and SO busy that you need to kneel down and beg for assistance.

How about “Would you like to…”?

Stay on equal footing with the person across from you. You’re no worse (or better). Eye to eye is the way to play it.

4. I hate to bother you, but…

Similar to #3, “I hate to bother you, but…” connotes the other person has all the power in the relationship. Even if you’re an intern, new hire or several years junior to someone at the company, you have every right to stand proudly and say, “When you have a minute, I’d like your opinion on…”

And let me tell you, plenty of business execs can “suddenly” find 15 minutes in their jam-packed schedules if someone wants their opinion. Maybe even 30 minutes or an hour.

No need to tiptoe around hiring managers either. Send a self-assured email, and let them know you exist.

5. I hope that’s OK.

Don’t give up authority in the conversation — you have the same rights to the territory. Instead, go with “Thanks for the consideration” or “I appreciate the help.”

Well, I hope you like my advice. If not, sorry for the trouble!

…said the blogger you don’t respect.

Your words set the tone. Use them wisely.

 

What other words make us look weak?

Share below!

Featured image: Gratisography

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