Words don’t always reflect your confidence, but they might indicate that something is amiss. Using these words could send the signal that you aren’t really sure, or you aren’t really serious.  You could be creating an impression you don’t want to make.

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1. Might

How often do you tell people you might do something?  Are you saying might because it’s more comfortable than saying no?  Beware.  Saying might implies you lack commitment, don’t manage priorities well, or both.  It creates an illusion of progress, that robs you and others of the option to move on.

An empowered option:  Try saying I will do a specific thing, even if it’s a smaller part of the original task.  Or say “I will get back to you with my answer by a specific date”.  An actual commitment, no matter how small, keeps things moving forward.

2. Can’t

This may seem like an obvious word to avoid, but let’s look.  First, it’s not accurate.  We always find a way to do or get what we really want.  Are you using can’t as an alternative to saying no?   Often saying can’t is easier than saying something like, “I could, but I’m not willing to make it a priority”.

An empowered option:  Try saying, “I like this project and want to say yes, but right now this isn’t a priority for me”.  This may sound strange or even cold at first, but it will give you and the other person an honest foundation from which to explore other ideas.  If you commit to a smaller piece of the project, or refer someone to another resource, it may feel more authentic and fulfilling.

3. Need

Saying need can make you seem – well, needy.  “I need you to come to work early.”  “I need you to get that report done.”   Most of us want to support others when it gives us a chance to contribute.  Saying need doesn’t give us enough information to decide if we want to help, or WHY helping would make a difference.

An empowered option:  Express your requests and requirements directly.  Request what you want, when you want it, and provide relevant details.  To increase your influence, share about the purpose of your request, and the impact saying yes could have – to you, a project, or the planet.

4. Usually

This word can expose that you prefer generalizations over accuracy.  If you say accounting usually doesn’t approve your expense report or the boss is usually late to meetings, it may mean you’re stretching the truth.  It could weaken your credibility.

An empowered option:  Try switching to, “my experience has been”.  When you speak from your experience you build credibility, and avoid being viewed as a gossip.

5. Worried

In addition to lacking confidence, saying that you’re worried can make it seem that you prefer drama over solutions.  Even if you are worried, don’t bother saying it.  Worry puts the focus on negative outcomes, which rarely helps you or the situation.  It can add emotional static that interferes with creative problem solving.

An empowered option:  Express your concern, observation or belief, and offer solutions.  Speak about the facts objectively.  A habit of adding emotions can be enticing, but it is seldom useful in transmitting confidence.

6. Confused

Inserting “I’m confused” before a question or request for clarification is a real confidence crusher.  Saying you are confused can give people the impression that you are easily overwhelmed.

An empowered option:   Asking for clarification is NOT confusion!  Others may have missed the information too, and would be grateful that you asked.  If more information will empower you, go get it!

7. Likely

No one is expected to predict the future.  Saying something is likely can reveal that you are not sure about the topic, or that you are drawing conclusions without all the facts.  Others may think it’s likely you lack confidence.

An empowered option:  For you to consider using the word likely may mean that you have made an observation and have valid information to share.  In this case, reporting your observations, and if relevant the projected outcome, is an empowered alternative.

Check out the blog, Imagine Your Self-Doubt Wearing Pink Bloomers for another viewpoint on growing your confidence.

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