Actually, we can speak with confidence and professionalism

October 25, 2012

in Spoken Word, Women

Bookmark and Share

I have like totally noticed professional women at all levels undermining their authority by (unintentionally) “up-talking,” that is, turning their statements into questions. In a recent post titled How to Kill Your Inner Valley Girl, the Careerist identifies this habit and other common ones that professional women should be aware of and avoid. The Careerist’s list comes from a Huffington Post piece by consultant Tara Sophia Mohr.

It’s a great list, as it includes a few habits that you may not have thought of as problematic. Here are the Careerist’s highlights:

1. Lose the “just.” “I’m just wondering …” “I just think …” “I just want to add …” Mohr says that “‘just’ demeans what you have to say” and “shrinks your power.”

2. Drop “actually” too. “I actually have a question.” “I actually want to add something.” Mohr says “actually” makes it sound like you’re surprised by your own ideas.

3. Don’t say that you are probably wrong. ”I haven’t researched this much but …” “I’m just thinking off the top of my head but …”

4. Don’t preface your statement by saying, “I’ll take just a minute.” Mohr says the phrase “sounds apologetic and implies that you don’t think what you are about to say is worthy of time and attention.”

5. Cut the questioning tone. This is, of course, my personal pet peeve. Mohr suggests lowering the tone at the end of a sentence.

6. Don’t ask a question when you are expressing an idea. ”When you have something to say, don’t couch it in a question,” says Mohr. Example: “What about this approach?” or “What do you think of doing it that way?”

And here a few positive tips for coming up with a refined style to replace all the habits you’ll be eradicating:

  • Prepare.
  • Pause.
  • Don’t fear silence.
  • Stephanie kay

    This is good stuff! Very useful. Thanks!

  • Eve

    I don’t think I’m as bad as most, but don’t you think I’m actually guilty of exhibiting many of these undermining behaviors? I guess I’m actually just a Valley Girl at heart, ya think?

Previous post:

Next post: