These 5 Words and Phrases Make You Look Weak at Work

Weakness“Hey, I’m not sure if you have the time right now, but it would be great if you could take just a minute to look at my resume…”

…said the weakest communicator ever.

Confidence is a powerful tool to gain respect and get stuff done. But if the wording doesn’t fill us with confidence, we run the risk of sending the reader elsewhere for the solution they desire.

As you compose emails (and in conversation too), remove these five words and phrases – that make you look weak – from your work-related vocabulary.

1. Just

“I just want to ask you…”

“It’ll just take a minute…”

“I’m just saying…

Weak, weak, weak. “Just” is a little word with big implications. Each time we use “just,” it suggests we’re wasting someone’s time. No, if you have something important to say, then say it.

Well, anyway…it’s just a writing tip.

See how that sounds? Weak.

Moving on.

2. Sorry

Don’t apologize all over the place. In most cases, you didn’t do anything wrong. “Sorry” is more like “Sorry for bothering you” or “Sorry for taking up your time.”

Of course, if you did screw up, then yea…say “Sorry.”

But if you have worthwhile information to send in an email or say aloud, then go for it. Respect yourself and the value you add to the conversation.

3. I’m Not Sure If You Can, But…

Such an inferior tone. As if the other person is SO important and SO busy that you need to kneel down and beg for assistance.

How about “Would you like to…”?

Stay on equal footing with the person across from you. You’re no worse (or better). Eye to eye is the way to play it.

4. I Hate To Bother You, But…

Similar to #3, “I hate to bother you, but…” connotes the other person has all the power in the relationship. Even if you’re an intern, new hire or several years junior to someone at the company, you have every right to stand proudly and say, “When you have a minute, I’d like your opinion on…”

And let me tell you, plenty of business execs can “suddenly” find 15 minutes in their jam-packed schedules if someone wants their opinion. Maybe even 30 minutes or an hour.

No need to tiptoe around hiring managers either. Send a self-assured email, and let them know you exist.

5. I Hope That’s OK

Don’t give up authority in the conversation — you have the same rights to the territory. Instead, go with “Thanks for the consideration” or “I appreciate the help.”

I just hope you like my advice. If not, hate to bother you.. sorry for the trouble!

Your words set the tone. Use them wisely.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!


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Danny Rubin AuthorAbout the Author: Danny Rubin is a communications expert for the millennial generation. He also writes the blog News To Live By, which highlights the career advice “hidden” in the headlines. His work has appeared on Huffington Post, Business Insider and the New York Times. Follow him @DannyHRubin



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