Language and speech are what separates us from the animal kingdom. It’s a powerful tool when wielded properly.
But it can also just as easily deflate our power as women when we fall prey to some of these common mistakes in business communications.
#1 Lack of Confident Language
You know I love to talk about confidence! Phrases and words that imply hesitation or fear are more common in women’s communications than men.
Hedges, qualifiers, and tag questions siphon the power from your language and thoughts. You appear indecisive and ill-equipped.
Phrases To Avoid:
- –“It should be…, shouldn’t it?”
- –“I’m not an expert, but…”
- –“I just think…”
- –“I actually think that maybe…
- –“Am I making sense?”
These phrases all introduce “shrinking” language — an attempt to make your thoughts and words less intrusive or confrontational. You’re preemptively avoiding criticism by suggesting that even you think that what you said may not be right or coherent.
If you don’t agree with a point or concept, you can still be diplomatic without being unnecessarily aggressive. “I don’t see it that way, here’s why.” or, “I think there’s a better way. Here’s my idea.” are easy phrases to infuse into the meetings that display confidence in yourself and what you bring to the table.
If you’re attempting to invite feedback or spark further discussion, ask for it without denigrating your contributions to the conversation. “What are your thoughts on this?” or “I look forward to hearing your perspective.” are more confident ways to elicit connection and discussion.
#2 Over-Explaining = Asking Permission
Many women are still working to earn their place in their career fields. This breeds a desire to over-explain their positions and thoughts in an attempt to prove they deserve a seat at the table.
If you’re waiting for someone to tell you that you deserve a seat at the table, we have a little work to do! I’m telling you, here and now, you don’t have to write the textbook to prove you deserve to be where you are.
How do I know this?
Because you’re there!
Your ability to confidently communicate your thoughts and position will advance you much farther than simply filling the space with words. If you can say in ten words, don’t use twenty.
Pauses are powerful. Use them to your advantage.
#3 Deflating Tone and Emphasis
English is one of the most complicated languages on planet Earth, but like most languages, tone plays a significant role in emphasizing our meaning or intent. When you raise the pitch of your voice at the end of a statement, your language automatically sounds like you’re questioning your own words.
It makes you appear tentative, as if you were unsure of your opinion or even yourself before you ever opened your mouth. Practice lowering the tone of your voice at the end of sentences and see what a difference that makes in how you sound and feel.
Clear and Confident For The Win
Helping women take fearless action is what I do. Book a confidence consultation and learn how to boost your business communications.