Merge's Blog

One phrase that can sabotage your credibility

ThumbsDownI’ve blogged previously about how we sometimes use phrases that cause us to be viewed by others as tentative, unsure, and hesitant, and thus inadvertently minimize our power, credibility and impact. See Phrases that diminish your power of persuasion. I heard another one recently – “This won’t take more than just a minute.”

It was said by someone who intended to be helpful, but I observed how this seemingly innocuous phrase not only set the stage for failure, but also diminished the value of what this person was offering. First, there are very few tasks that will literally take only less than 60 seconds; more likely the person was trying to appease the situation. And chances are that this goal wasn’t achieved anyway. Second, and perhaps more importantly, by saying that this will take no more than “just” a minute, this person completely devalued the very knowledge and experience that allowed her to solve the problem quickly.  Ironically, both these outcomes are definitely not what this person intended.

So don’t do it – take this phrase (or anything similar) out of your business language repertoire. Don’t deliberately sabotage the impact of your words and professional presence.  Don’t deliberately undermine your credibility.

So what other phrases are out there that cause people to weaken their influence and credibility? Please add your thoughts by commenting below.

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