The Power of Words: Communication for Business

The ability to speak with confidence and conviction is one of the most critical communication skills in business. Whether in person or on social media, fine-tuning your communication will make your messages more interesting and engaging, where people want to listen and believe what comes out of your mouth.

Learn to communicate in ways that will make you sound more confident. It’s all about communicating a message that conveys strength—and there are many ways of doing this. Swap out weak words and phrases like “I think” for stronger ones that state your opinion clearly using authoritative language such as “I believe.”

1. “Does that make sense?”  

What should you say?  “What are your thoughts?” or “I’d like your input on this?

You should never ask, “does that make sense?” after sharing an idea with someone. It shows that you’re not convinced of your own thoughts and leaves the impression on your listener as well, leaving them uncertain about whether they agree with what was just said. Instead, seek feedback from others by asking questions like “What are your thoughts?” or “I’d like your input on this?” This will allow both parties to be involved in the conversation leading towards greater understanding.

2. “Maybe we should try …”  

What should you say?Let’s try …” or “It’s a good idea to try ….”

Maybe we should try…” This is not very inspiring when you apply it to your own ideas or suggestions. Either be committed and believe in what you’re talking about, or don’t say anything.

3. “I think this would …”  

What should you say? I believe this would ….”

I think” sounds weaker than “I believe.” It’s more doubtful as to if you’re saying something might work, but not sure. “Believe” puts the power in your thoughts and conveys an air of certainty even when uncertainty prevails.

4. “I’m not positive, but …” or “I’m not sure, but ….”  

What should you say? Whatever you were going to say after the “but.” You don’t need to add disclaimers. For example, if you start your sentence with “I know this might be a stupid question, but …” you’re undermining yourself.

Don’t put yourself down. Ever!

5. “I just wanted to touch base …”  

What should you say? I wanted to touch base ….”

In a world full of email, we all have inevitably been guilty of using this phrase at least once. I have broken this rule more times than I care to admit. The problem, in this case, is that “just” is a softener – almost an apology, as if you’re saying, “I hate to bother you, but ….”

This can make your emails sound like they are full of pity or guilt instead of telling someone what you want.

6. “Needless to say …”   

What should you say? Nothing! When people say they’re not going to talk about something, they proceed with their explanation anyway. This doesn’t make sense, so why do it?

7. “In my opinion …”  Nothing! 

What should you say? Nothing! There are many ways to begin an argument, but most people prefer the cut-to-the-chase approach. When someone starts talking about their opinion or belief without directly stating what they think as soon as possible, people typically lose interest and stop listening.

8. “For what it’s worth …”  Nothing!

What should you say? Nothing! “For what it’s worth” is a phrase that sounds as if you’re not convinced about your point. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, why should anyone else?

9. “Sorry …”  

What should you say? Excuse me.”

We all apologize occasionally. How you apologize can speak volumes about who and what kind of person you are.

The line between being sorry and asking for permission is thin. Many people use the word “apologize” as an excuse to apologize without actually needing it, when “excuse me” should be used and is also less self-deprecating.

10. “(X) was developed to increase (X).”    

What should you say? “I developed (X) to increase (X).” I developed (X) to increase (X) comes across as more confident because it uses an active voice instead of a passive voice.  For example, “I developed a new marketing campaign to increase brand awareness, and I want you in on it.” Using an active voice instead of a passive one, you will come across as more confident when communicating with others.

11. “If you know what I mean …”   

What should you say? Nothing! This is a filler phrase, and it means nothing – and actually irritates people!

Learn to communicate in ways that will make you sound more confident.

If you want to sound more confident, it’s time for a language makeover. Swap out your weak words and phrases with ones that convey strength and confidence when communicating with those around you. You’ll be surprised at how much stronger your words become when you replace weak phrases with ones that are powerful and confident. Be strong, not weak. Use “determined” instead of “resolute,” and use your words to show how you feel rather than describing yourself as being in a particular state.

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