Your professionalism can make or break the deal as you communicate and collaborate as a solopreneur. When talking – either when meeting one on one or when presenting to a group – you can instantly downgrade your authority and credibility a notch or two by repeatedly making annoying speaking faux pas. Whether you use any of the below because of nervousness, uncertainty of what you want to say, or bad habit, consider making a conscious effort to limit them in your conversations.
Spoken Words that Could Make You Sound Less Professional
Like – I’m like, “Why do so many people say like?” I’m calling myself out on this one! I know many other people who use it conversationally, too. For me, it’s a bad habit I’m working to break. Occasionally using it won’t do much damage, but frequent use will make you sound like a preteen star on a Nickelodeon sitcom.
Um – We tend to use this meaningless filler when we’re gathering our thoughts and searching for what we want to say next. Used sparingly, it won’t be too distracting. But when inserted before or after every sentence it detracts from your message. You’ll sound more together by inserting a silent pause instead of an “um” as you find the right words to use next.
You know – This is another overused phrase, you know? If the people you’re talking with already know, why are you telling them? This, too, is usually used out of habit. Again, used minimally it won’t hurt, but overused it will make you sound less professional than you are.
Cuss words – While they sometimes have a place and purpose, often they don’t. Know your audience before you use expletives. Some people are tolerant of them, but others aren’t. Not only will you risk sounding unprofessional by using unnecessary cuss words, but you’ll also risk offending people. Before you curse, ask yourself if it really is the best way to drive home your point. Beware of using swear words gratuitously and freely to the point where they become a hard-to-break habit.
What other words or speaking habits do you think make professionals look/sound less authoritative and respect-worthy?
Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Dawn Mentzer
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