Merge's Blog

Phrases that diminish your power of persuasion

PersuasionAre you inadvertently sabotaging your power of persuasion by using words that make you seem unsure, hesitant, tentative, or unassertive?  You might be.  Here are some phrases that you should never have in your business vocabulary:

  • I might be wrong but …: the moment you utter this, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to listen to the rest of what you have to say.  If you might be wrong, then there’s no point in bothering to pay attention, is there?!
  • You know … (as in We need to, you know, report the safety violation): it either gets perceived as you seeking approval, or it comes across as superior and lecturing.  Either way, not an outcome you want.
  • Sort of … or kind of … (as in I kind of know what you mean or I sort of want to attend the training): just filler.  All it says to the listener is “I’m not sure about the words that are about to follow.”
  • Like … (as in Like are you attending the town hall meeting today?): more filler, used most often by Millennials.  It adds zero value to the message, and the clutter makes the impact of the message that much weaker.

When you use these phrases, people subconsciously perceive you as less confident and less credible.  So get rid of them!  Consciously pay attention to your choice of words and check yourself when you fall back into this phraseology.  And ask people you trust, either at home or at work, to stop you in mid-sentence when you slip into old habits.  Clean up your language and step up your powers of persuasion and influence.

So what other phrases diminish your ability to influence and persuade others?  Or cause people to see you as less confident?  Let’s add to this list that I’ve started.

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