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7 Language Hacks for More Confidence

7 Language Hacks for More Confidence

It’s no news that the language we use when we interact with ourselves and others has a massive impact on our confidence. Interaction is so much more than words. It’s the exchanging of emotion, feeling, and thought. It’s the much needed connecting with another human in some shape or form.

Even though you try to avoid those awkward silences, go great lengths to avoid hurting someone, and try not to send a different message than what you intended. The language that you use could end up affecting your confidence.

I’m talking about the I-screwed-up confession with the significant other, that stressful business meeting, the sales conversation with the client you so desperately need, and that stressful talk you have with your boss when you put in your two weeks notice. It’s also about all of the things you say to yourself leading up to, during, and after those interactions.

It’s all more than words.

The thing though? Those interactions don’t have to overwhelm you. You don’t have to spend your time playing conversations out in your head before and after you have them. Because there are 7 ways that you can hack your language, own your interactions, and build real, lasting confidence.

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Say what you mean

We’re all human. But when we have difficult conversations or interactions with others where the stakes are high, it’s easy to forget that. So sometimes we start posturing and putting on a facade. We say things that we think we are ‘supposed to’ or ‘should’ say. The interactions that we replay and worry about mainly revolve around the language that we use. What’s the first thing you should say? What if you say [this] and they do [this]? What if they say [this]? How will they react?

When you’re aware of and honest about what you actually want to say, you won’t have to replay or worry about your language. Because everything that you say will be right. That doesn’t mean your messages will always be received the way that you want, but you won’t regret what you said. I’m not saying be rude and inconsiderate. I’m saying that being authentic and owning your words is respectful to you and the receiver.

Use “I”

Everything you say comes from you. You compose the language. And the message is always coming from somewhere deeper than your mouth. Using “I” shows ownership and responsibility of what you’re saying.

“I love you” vs. “Love you”/<3

Love is powerful, as is the proclamation itself. But as the digital age has grown, we’ve thrown “love” around more without true meaning. It’s grown to be, in many cases, meaningless. Omitting the I separates that feeling from you. It’s almost in-human.

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“I feel [this] about [them]” vs. “[They] are making me feel [this].”

No one can make you feel anything. You cultivate your feelings. Blaming others for what you feel puts yourself in a very helpless, victim-like position. A position that can often be difficult to get out of.

Recognize that you are feeling [whatever] about [that person/thing]. There’s no external controller that’s selecting your response to something.

“I” vs. “you/us/we”

I have used we, us, and you so far in this article. Some things are more personal, some things are more generalized. But in conversation, generalizing incorrectly can take away some of the power of what you’re saying.

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Distinguish between feelings and thoughts

“I feel like” vs. “I think”

These are two different things. Sure, our thoughts can conjure emotions and vice versa. But there is a clear distinction between the two. Make sure you’re using them appropriately.

Feel Thank You + You’re Welcome

It’s common courtesy. Someone holds the door for you, and you exchange these two phrases. It’s nearly automatic. But are you really thankful for that person? Are you allowing yourself to express your genuine desire to do [that thing] for that person when you say, “you’re welcome”? Are you actually grateful?

Be aware of these interactions and allow yourself a moment to feel through your words. Along with saying “I”, this expresses ownership in your language.

Say No and Yes Honestly

Both of these words are without a doubt, two of the most powerful words we can use. And they are the most commonly used words that often stand in the way of saying what we mean. Say yes when you are genuinely accepting or agreeing. Say no when something isn’t what you want or can do. Period.

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Decipher between “can’t” and “don’t want to”

Can’t is very definitive, while want is often more progressive and accurate. “I can’t do it” holds so much more power than “I don’t want to do it.” Can you actually do [that thing] but you don’t want to? Figure it out.

Forget “I don’t know”

It’s the same as “I can’t”.

“I don’t know” is often a phrase we use to get out of digging deeper and explaining something. It can sometimes come out in desperation or when we aren’t willing to engage with something. It’s another phrase that comes along with a victim mentality. It sounds hopeless and lost. It’s an immediate shut down.

It’s what Danielle LaPorte calls the “I don’t know” conspiracy. Make the switch to “I will figure it out,” because you will if you actually try.

It’s not enough to just read and nod. You have to take action on what you’re reading.

if you want to build more confidence. Do it now. Why wait?

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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