by Michelle Mazur, Ph.D. | Featured Contributor
Language shapes your reality. As a female entrepreneur, you’re closing sales, negotiating deals, and writing copy, the reality that you want to create is one of powerful confidence when persuading.
The problem is that you often unconsciously undermine your efforts with the language that you use. Little words slip in all the time that make you appear less assertive and compelling.
I love the word “just” (more in just a second about why “just” is bad). I have to ruthlessly edit all of my writing and be careful in my conversations, so that I don’t “just” my way out of a new client or big time opportunity.
Where are you undermining your persuasive efforts? Here are 6 phrases to eliminate that will make you a more powerful, poised, and persuasive during your next presentation, business meeting or high-powered negotiation.
“We” is the tiny word that kills your persuasive hopes and dreams. When you’re about to close a deal or make your big ask, you’ll be tempted to start talking as if you and you’re would-be client are already a team.
Remember, a “we” does not act. A “we” does not buy. A “we” does not hire you. Only a “you” makes decisions. Ditch the “we” in favor of “you” and your call-to-action will pack a punch.
Here’s my little darling “just.” What’s the problem with “just”? Just is used when you’re afraid of coming on too strong, being too opinionated, or making too bold of a statement.
I started “justing” all over myself in college while on the debate team. Apparently, I was too aggressive when making an argument (one judge used the b-word to describe my debating style), so I relied on just to tone it down.
Entrepreneurs can’t afford to dial it down. Just is an apology for having opinion. Stop “justing.”
“I honestly think…”
What up until that point you were lying to me? People expect you to be honest in your communication. Don’t give them reason to doubt your credibility or veracity by inserting this pesky word in your conversation.
Tara Mohr explains it best in her book “Playing Big”, the word “actually” seems like you’re surprised by what you said.
This word slips in when you are about to disagree or make a bold statement. You don’t actually think or actually feel instead “you think” and “you feel”. You don’t need to hedge your bets by inserting “actually” into the mix.
#5. “Don’t you think?”
Have you ever made a powerful statement, and then tagged on a question at the end like “don’t you think? Or “right?”
Women are natural relationship builders. It’s important to get consensus. But tag questions create an impression that you’re unsure about your statement, and you need approval.
Make your bold statement and leave the tag question off. Your words will carry more weight.
#6. “Might,” “maybe, “kind of”
I notice this type of equivocation in copywriting all the time. Which is a more powerful tagline: “Communication can change the world” or “Communication changes the world”?
If you said the second one, you’re correct! Standing out in the entrepreneurial word with your copy and your words means that you need to have a big idea or opinion behind your brand that permeates the way you communicate.
Apple’s slogan wouldn’t be as powerful if it was “Kind of Think Different”. No Apple commands us to “Think Different”.
The first step from eliminating these words from your conversation is noticing that you are using them. Figure out which word is the darling that is undermining you.
Practice not using that word in everyday (not sales) conversations. When you hear yourself say that word or phrase, correct yourself. You’ll become aware, and on the path to powerful persuasion.
Michelle Mazur, Ph.D., Audacious Breakthroughs for Standout Presentations – Seattle, WA
Michelle is the CEO of Communication RebelTM, a boutique communication consultancy specializing in the content development of presentations. To steal a lyric from a terrible Bryan Adams song, she firmly believes “Everything you do. You do it for the audience.” Armed with a Ph.D. in Communication, she has helped hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs design and deliver presentations from the audience’s point of view. Her speakers have spoken in front of world leaders, First Ladies, and have raised three times the amount of money than expected for charities.
She believes every presentation should leave a lasting impression and the last words of your presentation are the most important real estate in your speech. Check out her free tool the Audience Journey to help you craft that final thought. It’s proven to leave your audience talking and taking action long after your finished speaking.
She is also author of the Amazon best-selling book, Speak Up for Your Business: Presentation Secrets for Entrepreneurs Ready to Tell, Sell, and Compel.
Michelle lives in Seattle with her adoring husband, 2 obsessive felines, and huge collection of Duran Duran memorabilia. You don’t have to fly to Seattle to hang out with Michelle. Come visit her on the blog for all things public speaking, hit her up twitter @drmichellemazur, or like (you really like her) on Facebook.