The Words That Are Killing Your Credibility

STOP! Don't say that. 

When I’m not heading up A Creative Culture I manage the Marketing Department at a Publishing Company in Las Vegas, NV. One of our clients, Nicholas Boothman international bestselling author of How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds Or Less, has a question he poses at conferences, “How long do you think it takes for you to decide if you like someone?”

Oftentimes the audience thinks about it and starts shouting out, ‘2 minutes!’ ‘About 5 minutes!’ ‘Maybe an hour of conversation?’

To which Nick responds with, “So you’re telling me, if some stranger was walking up your driveway, it would take you an hour of conversation to figure out if you like them or not?”

Definitely not. We all make snap judgments about others, whether we realize it or not. So much of this isn’t based on their appearance or clothing choices. It’s based on their mannerisms, their vocabulary and their level of eye contact / smiling.

Now, this can be a HUGE conversation about how to revamp your exterior in order to make a stellar first impression, but I’ll let Nick Boothman cover that (if you want to check out his book you can find it here -

What I want to focus on is our vocabulary. Especially the verbiage we use when we’re communicating via email or social media. 

a creative culture

5 verbal habits to remove from your vocabulary today:

1.       Remove the frequency of the word ‘just’“Hi there, I’m just reaching out to see if you’re available for a phone call next week? Just write me back at your convenience. I’ll be here just waiting.” That’s a bit extreme, but you see what I mean? The person crafting that note comes across as weak and incapable. Reading that email does not instill an automatic, healthy respect for the one receiving and thus moves to the bottom of their to-do list.

When you are asking for something be confident! Tell them why you’re writing, what you would like, and how you will be following up.

“Hi there, I’m reaching out to see when you’re available for a call next week. I have an opening Wednesday at 2pm..” See what an improvement that was? JUST let ‘just’ go.

a creative culture

2.       Stop the idiot preface – So many people, women especially, start off a thought by disclaiming it. “Well, I think something we can do-- and this might be absolutely stupid so feel free to tell me I’m being ridiculous, I don’t even know if I like this idea-- is to try…” Do you think the next piece of that sentence is going to be received and respected?

Try proceeding with confidence when you are proud of what you have to say. Sometimes prefacing a statement is tactful and should be done when necessary, but not as a default. Be bold!

3.       Stop apologizing – This is an important one that most of us don’t realize we’re doing. Now, of course, there is a time and a place to apologize. That’s not what we’re talking about. I’m pointing out those times when you were no-way in the wrong but opted to say, “Oh I’m so sorry! I’ll help.” or “Oops sorry that’s not what I mean to say.” and so on.

The sentence would hold more weight if you were to say, “Correction: (insert what you meant to say here.)” it was calm, collected and confident. I would stop and listen to that person. Apologizing unnecessarily can make someone appear to be bumbling, and that’s never the effect we want to have.

4.       Change the tense of your words – This is a biggee. I see this one a lot via email. Someone will contact me and say, “I wanted to reach out and ask if you would be available for..” or “I was wondering if you can..”

Sooo.. you were wondering about this, but now you’re not? No! You are currently asking me a question about something you want NOW. Make it known. “I’m reaching out to ask if you’re available for..”

(I also see this one paired with #1 a lot ‘just.’ i.e. “I was just wondering if..” Stop that, missy!)

5.       The constant state of 'busy' – I think we can all own up to this one. A friend calls you to catch up and when they ask how you’ve been you do a *heavy sigh* and say, “Oh busy.. just super busy with everything.” To live a life full of intention and be the people we want to be, it’s important to remain present. To remember what we’ve done, be proud of our everyday accomplishments, and relish in our little-moment memories. (I go into this in detail HERE.) Being in this state, and omitting the busy response, will help blow open conversation and connection with others.

Try saying this instead:
“I am in a state of passionately pursuing my priorities. Let me tell you about them!”

Wow! That sounds awesome, tell me more!

(Want to spread the anti-busy message? Pin this graphic!)

Stop saying busy - Pinterest.jpg

Are you a ‘just’ offender? Do you preface your ideas with a disclaimer? Are you always ‘busy’?

Which of these are you currently working on? OR do you have another suggestion? I’d love to hear!