I'm a stickler for rhetoric, semantics, and tonal fluctuation in communication. So much so that those in my inner circle know that even the slightest variance in their tone of voice could make or break a conversation with me. This rings true in the reverse affect for me in the workplace. The words, tone, and delivery I use to pitch or make a presentation to clients could be the deciding factor in their decision to hold off or move forward with a suggested project.
Recently I read an interesting article in Ragan.com about phrases that could sabotage your career and how vague and tentative phrases convey weakness and undermine your business dealings. This is one of the reasons why, as a communcator, I would rather use more words to convey a concise message rather than use less words or emphasis for the sake of saving time. In the long run, it's always best to choose both your words and delivery wisely. The wrong word can cost you an account, a job, a friend, even a partner.
Here are a few of the biggest nuances I hear when speaking to individuals in a business setting:
1. The valley girl: "Like, you know..."
Pay attention to this phrase; if you're in the habit of saying it, stop. It makes you sound foolish and childlike.
2. The unsure: "I think..."
Drop it, don't use it. If you can't speak with conviction when you're talking to potential clients, then why would they ever want to buy your goods and/or services?
3. The wimpy: "I'll try"
When you tell a colleague and/or your boss that "you'll try," you don't leave them feeling confident about your abilities to get the job done. It's a little change—"I will" from "I'll try"—but it speaks volumes about you and your can-do attitude.
For the complete list of phrases and to read this article in its entirety, click here.
Priscilla Thomas is the founder and CEO of Savvy Girl PR and an experienced communications consultant with over 20 years experience in copy writing, grant proposals, and business communications.