It’s important to know what phrases not to say at work that scream lack of confidence. As a working woman, navigating your way through the workplace is hard enough, but add the allure that you seem that to have it all together is a whole other thing. There will be many times at work that you have to show that you are meant to be in the position that you are in. You earned that job. You earned that role. Now you have to learn how to show confidence on the outside, even if you might be trembling on the inside. Read more about: 8 Things To Never Say In A Job Interview, No Matter What Position You’re Applying For
Perhaps you are new on the job, or maybe you lack experience, but you can overcome this nervousness by knowing what to say and what not to say in any situation. Research has shown that having confidence (or at least perceived) at work leads to promotions, raises and overall trust in your leadership capacity and on the job decision making. Just learn how to fake it until you make it.
Sometimes over confidence can be mistaken for conceitedness, but you don’t have to worry about that. If you want to be the best at your job, then you need to learn these key phrases of what NOT to say. Here are 10 phrases that scream lack of confidence and how to counteract them. Read more about: Master 8 Body Language Tips For A Successful Career
10 Phrases That Scream Lack of Confidence at Work
Filler words such as “uhh, Uhm and like”. These were all fine when you were growing up but in your workspace, they make you sound immature and unsure. If you have a ‘like’ addiction, you need to stay focused on keeping your sentences short and practicing what you say before you say it. If you want to get ahead, you have to break this habit.
“I hate to bother you”. If you are at work and need to ask a question, simply ask a question. Using this phrase makes it seem like you have to ask permission to speak. You make YOU sound like an inconvenience to a boss or colleague. Instead, say something similar to “excuse me, do you have a moment to discuss something?” Be in control of the conversation, don’t let the conversation control you.
Along those same lines of seeming to request confirmation is the phrase “is that okay?” Making your statement sound like questions or requests can make you sound insecure and unprofessional. You can ask people to do things without making a question that they can refuse without sounding rude. Simply say “let me know if you have any questions”. Direct but still open to provide support.
Saying “I’m sorry” should be saved for times that you need to be sorry. You should not be using this phrase for simply doing your job- even with your boss. If you need help with something or need to talk to your boss, say “thank you for taking the time to answer my question” instead of saying “sorry for interrupting” like you are begging for attention. While it’s great to be respectful in the office, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t respect your own self-worth or time. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Nothing should get your fired quicker than responding in a situation “that’s not my job”. Even if it isn’t your job, there are so many better ways to express this sentiment. By saying this out loud, it shows that you seem negative (which you might not be) and cannot be counted on if something comes up that might be slightly out of the ordinary. Now if it’s something illegal, then yes, don’t get yourself in a situation, but if you are simply unhappy with a task that you are asked to do…this is not the phrase. Instead, ask to speak with your boss about the tasks that you need to do and what they want to take priority.
While it might be in your wildest dreams to say this to your boss or an obnoxious colleague, saying “you’re wrong” sounds rude and it shows that you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions. The best way to go about a situation where you know that you are right is by saying something along the lines such as “I disagree, but here is why…” then open it up for a discussion. Simply saying you wrong and walking away makes you seem like the obnoxious one.
While it’s okay to not know everything, saying “I don’t know” exudes a lack of confidence and questions your own value in your positions. To find a better way to answer a question that you don’t know the answer, you can always offer input on what you do know and ask for time to help find the answer. Be a solution finder instead of a problem creator. This is what you want to show.
It’s important to have some type of formality at work, this gives the perception of professionalism and respect. Informal references such as “you guys” should be saved for informal times. Change this habit and replace this phrase with proper names such as “the company” or “the team”.
“I think…” These two words can completely change the narrative of any sentence and will change the course of sounding like you are not completely sure of your skills to being confident of what you can bring to the table. Think of the sentence, “I think that I can be a great help to you” instead of “I know I can be of…” You have to start thinking positively so you can exude confidence in all the right settings. The more you believe in what you have, the more that others will believe in you too.
Nothing shows a lack of confidence by starting a sentence with a discrediting, negative phrase such as “this might sound stupid…” or “this might be a terrible idea…” Using a negative phrase automatically gives everyone permission to believe that you might actually be stupid or have terrible ideas when in fact they could be incredible and creative. You have to learn to love your ideas and what you want to share so that others will buy into your confidence and give you more credibility where it is deserved.
Bonus phrase (!)…destroy the word “hopefully” from your vocabulary. Nobody wants to hear or read that you are “hopefully “going to get something done at work. It makes you sound like you might not be able to complete a task or that you lack the confidence to do so and have a lack of control. If you need to show you confidence and control about what you can or cannot do, then you must be transparent with your workload and provide an accurate time to complete the task.
After learning about some of these phrases that can really take a toll on your perceived confidence at work, go into work with your head held high and simply fake it until you make it. You are in control of how you are perceived so make it count. If you are still interesting in learning more, check out this article from Forbes Magazine, 10 Steps to More Confidence at Work. Let me know how you did in the comments.
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