Did you know that you could be hurting your credibility with something as simple as your choice of words? Being aware of this fact can help you in a whole multitude of different scenarios, not least when you’re being grilled during an interview. Here are words that you should avoid in order to keep your credibility intact:
Examples: "Sort of," "kind of," "pretty much," and "maybe"
We tend to use hedges when we don’t want to say something outright. The end result of using them is a perceived lack of confidence, which can be especially detrimental in the workplace. Paralysis with self-doubt is never a good a look for anyone, as giving this impression implies that you’ll have trouble taking decisions in the future.
Examples: "Really," "definitely," "absolutely," and "totally"
Although we use intensifiers to place emphasis on how good or bad something is or was, it usually has the opposite effect to the desired one. For instance, telling someone how really, really great a vacation was might lead them to believe that it wasn’t that great at all seeing as you’re making such a point to insist that it was. In addition, intensifiers can make you seem overly dramatic, which can also result in a loss of credibility.
Examples: "Like," "um," "er," and "ah"
You should resist the urge to fill the silence when you stop talking, because it just adds uncertainty and awkwardness to a conversation. You just need to stop yourself from using fillers whenever you can, because they just take credibility away from the discussion or conversation at hand.
Starting your sentences with an apology is never a good idea. In the workplace, constantly saying sorry can cause your employer to question your abilities, and this is because people perceive those who are overly-apologetic as being unable to stand up and take ownership of their ideas.
Why we use these words
In almost any setting we find ourselves in, we’re communicating impressions of ourselves. We want to help our statements get across to other parties in any way we can, so we choose to decorate them by using words such as “literally” and “really” in the hope that our message is conveyed more successfully. The thing is, however, that usually the opposite occurs.
How to stop using them
All you need to do to stop using these words is to listen to yourself with intent and develop an awareness of what you’re saying. Listen to your own speech, be open to feedback from your friends and make changes where you see fit to. With regard to all of the above, none of these credibility-diminishing words are terrible when used in isolation, but overusing them will definitely weaken your credibility.