6 Words That Make You Sound Less Confident

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Confidence is a key component to a successful life. Our confidence is portrayed in many ways, from the way we carry ourselves to the way we dress to the way we speak. And while we might be the best at our jobs or know that we are worthy of love, certain words we use can give off the impression that we’re not absolutely confident in ourselves. Below are a few of the words that you should avoid using in speech and electronic communication.

  • “Actually.” Much like “sorry,” we use “actually” when it’s not necessary or stylistically doesn’t make sense. In many cases, it can distract from what you’re trying to say and dumbs down your statement.
  • “Um.” Chances are that you don’t use this word in written communication, but we often use “um” as a placeholder in conversation. Unfortunately, using it can make a person look unprepared. If you’re at a loss for words, pause rather than thrown in an “um” or “ah.”
  • “Hopefully.” When you state that you’re “hopeful” that something will happen, you indicate that you have no control over the situation or that you’re unreliable. Simply state that you “plan” to have a deliverable finished by a certain date or, even to be safe, under-promise and over-deliver.
  • “Kind of.” A statement like “kind of” (or “sort of”) is vague and shows a lack of commitment. Clarify a situation before making any kind of statement about it. After all, you can’t figure out a solution to something until you have a clear idea of what’s going on.
  • “Like.” This has become thrown around so much in our every day vernacular that most of us don’t even realize we’re saying. But 99% of the time we drop it into conversation, we’re misusing it and it waters down what we’re trying to say – and it’s really distracting.
  • Curse words. Intelligent and confident people can convey their thoughts without throwing around curse words. While you might think they give emphasis to whatever you’re trying to say, chances are that you’re really just offending someone.
  • “Sorry.” This word has really lost its meaning over the years. The majority of the time, we use it when no apology is even needed. For example, when asked if you can attend a conference call, saying, “Sorry, I can’t do Monday. Can we do Tuesday, instead?” isn’t necessary. Just state the times that you are and aren’t available. And if an apology is really necessary, say that you apologize for an action, not “I’m sorry.” By saying “I’m sorry,” you make it all about how you feel about a situation, rather than taking responsibility and apologizing for how you impacted someone else.
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