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10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

10 Words People Who Are Not Confident Always Use

A famous comedian relates this anecdote about his start in show business. He had a minor role in a biblical stage play with a short speaking part to be delivered as he assisted a high-ranking Roman soldier.

The dialogue was pretty straightforward. The Roman soldier was to ask him, “Is my sword ready?” and he was to answer, “It is.” He rehearsed his two-worded line endlessly. The theater was full on opening night, which made him quite nervous.

Finally, his one shining moment came.

Roman soldier: “Is my sword ready?”

His loud, excited reply: “Is it?”

And that was the end of his stage career.

Words, even when monosyllabic, carry meaning, and the subtlest of adjustments can totally flip the table (or the script). More importantly, words have manifesting power. If you find yourself short on confidence, check to see if these words form part of your regular dialogue.

1. Might

“I might take the college entrance test.”
“I might fail.”
“I might just forget about college.”

Might is an ambivalent word that shows a lack of intention and direction. Using might on your weekly planning, daily to-do lists, or in response to others’ requests could result in tasks left undone. That’s precisely because in your thoughts and speech, you don’t appear to care either way. Eliminate this word from your vocabulary. Go for a YES or NO. If you are not sure about whether or not to do a task, think “maybe” but give it a deadline and convert soon to a YES or NO. It’s not about saying yes all the time; it’s about making a decision either way. You move from not confident to decisive.

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2. Won’t

“It won’t work.”

“I won’t be able to do that.”

Won’t is a defeatist word that assumes failure in a race even before the first step is taken. People who think and say this word often base their negative thinking on a couple of past experiences. When you conclude in your mind that a process, a project, or you will fail, that is exactly what will happen. Open your belief to the real probability of success with, “That could work” or, “Yes, I think I can do that.” As you become more optimistic, good results will start happening to move you from not confident to positive thinker.

3. Usually

“This is usually the way we do it.”

“I usually work better solo.”

Usually is a status quo-type of word that accepts things as they are. Things are just that way, end of story. It’s a word that closes the door to finding newer, better ways of doing things. It’s sometimes used to justify laziness. Instead, think of alternatives, options, and new things. Be willing to think and say “We can try another way” or “I will take a chance working with this team,” and get ready to be surprised by your adaptability and other new discoveries. As new things become usual to you, your experience and expertise grows. And so does your confidence.

4. Suspect

“I suspect there will be a company takeover.”

“I suspect there is a catch to their proposal offer.”

Unlike the previous words, which mostly affects the speaker, suspect brings a shadow of suspicion on another person’s motive and sows intrigue and fear in others. Verbalizing your negative thinking contaminates those around you. It causes low morale and an air of distrust that affects relationships and productivity. Drop suspect altogether from your thoughts and speech. Stop judging, accept news and gestures at face value, and improve your interpersonal skills.

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5. Impossible

“That’s impossible; it has never been done.”

“It’s impossible for me to work with [fill in person, task, or department].”

Impossible combines the defeatism of won’t and the status quo of usually to firmly lock the door to new successes. The danger of impossible is in the passion you use when you say the word, often with a raised voice and a strong hand gesture. The stronger the feeling that is attached to a word, the surer and sooner it will manifest. As you continue to use impossible in your thoughts and words, you will notice less positive things happening in your life. From not confident, you could drop to outright fearful. Throw out impossible from your vocabulary. Shift to “not possible” and then to “could be possible” and finally to “Yes, it can be done!”

6. Worried

“I’m worried about my presentation.”

“I’m worried the client will not be satisfied.”

Worried is the reason people are not confident. Being worried comes from imagining a bad or worst case scenario. Its two components are (1) thinking ahead and (2) fearing a negative outcome. When you find yourself thinking ahead to the day of your presentation or project submission, summon a positive image of a supportive audience and an impressed client. Smile, hear the audience applauding, and feel the firm handshake of your happy client. If you are unable to imagine a positive image, then focus only on the present moment as you complete the project and prepare for the presentation. Pediatricians chat up children to talk about something interesting and then swiftly deliver the shot. They know it’s the fear of the needle—not the actual shot—that makes the process worrisome.

7. Confused

“I’m confused about my team leader’s work expectations.”

“I’m confused if he wants to seriously continue this relationship.”

Sometimes, a confusing situation is to be blamed for the ambivalence of might and the defeatist attitude of won’t. If you don’t know what your work objective is, you won’t be able to take steps to get there. If you don’t know how you stand in a relationship, you won’t know how committed you can be. Among the words people who are not confident use, confused is the simplest to get rid of. Get yourself out of the confusion to a place of clear understanding by speaking to your team leader or your significant other. Ask clear, direct questions. Explain you want to understand their expectations so you can act accordingly, from not confident to sure of yourself.

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8. Need

“I need to buy expensive suits before I go to any job interview.”

“I need to be sure there is no risk of getting turned down before I ask her out.”

Need acts like a stalling tactic and a justification for failing. It’s also a dream stopper. It’s you setting up conditions—which are often unnecessary—for you to succeed. Many people say this common dialogue that applies to any dream.

“I want to write a book but …”

“I need to finish sending all my children to college first.”

“I need to keep working to save up.”

“I need to find time to focus.”

“I need to take some writing courses.”

“I need to gather more writing experience.”

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If they end up not living the dream, they give the above reasons for their so-called failure, which is actually a non-start. It’s better to try and fail, than to fail to try. The experience of engaging in an action or a relationship is far more important than the result. When you are not too attached to the results, you actually don’t need much to start.

9. Quandary

“I’m in quandary about staying with the company or going freelance.”

“It’s a big quandary for me—take the overseas job offer or stay and nurture this promising relationship.”

Being in a quandary, unlike being confused, means you know the consequences of each choice, but you are uncertain of how much impact it will have down the road. You’re unsure if you’re ready to give up one thing for something else. It takes time, research, and lots of contemplation to get out of a quandary. Give yourself time to weigh things, but do not stay in quandary for longer than necessary, so you don’t get stuck. Don’t rush your decision either. When you do arrive at a decision, move forward and don’t look back.

10. Likely

“I will likely meet the deadline.”

“The client will likely disagree with our proposal.”

Likely is very similar to the ambivalent might but has a higher probability of happening, positively or negatively. It still is not certain. Likely comes across as uncommitted and shows a lack of effort or motivation to make it a sure thing. To change likely to a definite YES, find out what it is about the project or the proposal that is giving you doubts and address them one by one. Like might, this is about removing those doubts and making a definite decision, either way. Go from almost confident to assuredly so.

All these words have an air of uncertainty and negativity that feeds on such feelings and creates a cycle of negative beliefs and negative outcomes. End the cycle with naturally gained self confidence. Be clear about what YOU want. You don’t want anything bad happening, so that’s where you start. Visualize a positive experience and outcome and then take steps to produce that. In such a scenario, not-confident will have absolutely NO part.

Featured photo credit: Peter via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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