By limiting the use of 7 words in your vocabulary
Everyone wants to come across as intelligent and confident, whether it is at a party, in a boardroom, or in a job interview. Still, all your hard work of, focusing on body language, picking the right power tie, and practising your firm handshake, could become undone if you are using the wrong words.
“Words are free. It’s how you use them that may cost you.” -Rev J Martin.
Words have power. They can shape empires and destroy hearts. They can build someone up or tear them down.
Often when we think of words having power, we think of great speeches like Martin Luther King Jnr’s “I have a dream”, Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight on the beaches”, or Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech.
But in truth, the words we use every day can be just as powerful. Below is a list of words you should eliminate from everyday use, not only will removing these words make you appear smarter and more confident, but it will also help you improve your self-esteem.
“I just wanted to follow up…” “Just checking in…” “I just don’t understand.”
Many people use “just” because they don’t want to seem bothersome; they think it helps make the following sentence more palatable to the receiver. Unfortunately, “just” creates the impression that what you are about to say/do, is unimportant, you come across as passive and insecure. Try removing “just” from the top 3 examples and see how much better they say.
“I wanted to follow up…” “I am checking in…” “I don’t understand.”
Removing “just” from your written and verbal communications will go a long way to making you sound more confident and commanding.
I am guilty of overusing “like.” If you are talking about something you enjoy, using like is perfectly fine, although there are better words you can use. However, for many of us, it has become so deeply ingrained in our vocabulary, we don’t even realise we are saying it.
Using “like” in a conversation waters down your message, and gives the impression you are not intelligent or confident. Work on removing it from your communication and “like” totally see how much better you sound.
“Maybe” is non-committal, “are you coming to my party?” “Maybe.” Everyone knows “maybe” means no, but the host still needs to plan for you, because they can’t be 100% sure. By using “maybe,” you come across as either unsure, or spinless, or both.
Drop the “maybe” and start saying yes or no, you will get more respect for saying no to something than saying “maybe.” If you are genuinely unsure about something, or can’t decide on the spot, tell them you need more information, or you need to clarify somethings first, and you will get back to them.
“So, avoid using the word “very” because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, He is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose” — Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.
This quote says it all, “very” is lazy, unimaginative, and makes you come across as unintelligent. The English language can be beautiful, and with roughly half a million words, there is no excuse to use “very”.
“Very” is also subjective, “very cold” for some, might be cool for others. A “very deep” swimming pool for a child, may not be deep for an adult. Don’t be afraid to be specific and imaginative.
If you are struggling to remove very from your vocabulary, Here is a link to get you started.
This also applies to “really”.
There are times where “that” is an acceptable word to use, but 90% of the time, it is unnecessary and redundant, adding nothing to the sentence.
Once you have finished writing a draft, go back through it and find where you have used “that”, try rereading the sentence without using “that” if it sounds fine without it, take it out. if not, try substituting it for “which.” If it still doesn’t work, you can leave “that” in.
“Whatever” is a coward’s word. In your head, you might think you sound cool and nonchalant when you say “whatever”. But in reality, you sound indecisive, or you don’t care. Saying “whatever” gets you off the hook if you say “whatever” you force someone else to make the decisions, which gives you the ability to blame them later if things go wrong.
But CEOs don’t say “whatever” they know what they want, and they know how to make decisions. Stop being a leaf propelled forward by the winds of other people’s desires, start voicing what you want, even if it is a wrong decision you will more respect than saying “whatever”.
This is another one I am guilty of, but I am working hard to stop it.
It is usually along the lines of “hopefully, I will be able to do some writing today.” Or “hopefully I can go to the gym today.”
“Hopefully” conveys a message of powerlessness, as if I have no control over how my day will look. It also gives me a guilt-free out if I don’t get a chance to do it. “I didn’t say I would write today, I said hopefully.”
This is a weasel way out, not only does it make me sound weak, and not in control, but it also creates a victim mentality which will further expand my feelings of hopelessness.
Although using “amazing” in a sentence doesn’t make you come across as less intelligent or lacking confidence, it is an overused word. “Amazing” is everywhere; it lacks originality and removes the power from the sentence.
Look at this list and start astonishing your audience.