8 Phrases That Can Make You Sound Weak at Work - Deepstash
Phrases That Can Make You Sound Weak at Work

Actions may speak louder than words, but our words still hold tremendous power

If your goal is to have your voice heard and your ideas respected at work, cruise over the phrases below, and if you’re guilty of saying them, consider a re-word or eliminate them entirely.


“I’m not an expert, but….”

Phrases like — “I’m not an expert, but…” and his popular cousin — “I’m not sure if this is a good idea….” are harmless prefaces for relaxed brainstorming sessions. But if you’re in a situation where you’re trying to get people to respect you and take your ideas seriously, these phrases undermine your credibility.

Consider taking a more direct and less self-deprecating approach instead — “What I believe is the best direction is X” or “I would suggest we also consider Y.”


“It’s just that….”

Weak objections tend to not only get overruled, but they send a signal to people that you’re not willing to take a stand.

“The client said they don’t like plastic, what about using glass?” is more effective than saying, “It’s just that the client said they don’t want to use plastic.” Or any variation of the words “The only thing is…”


“When you get a minute….”

People’s time is limited and you don’t want them to have to search for your point.

If you need a status update, be direct and ask for it. Drop the “This is just a friendly nudge…” or “When you have a moment…” and ask “I have to get X over to Y at Z time today. Can you give me a status please?”


“I’m sorry to bother you…”

When asking for a hand from a co-worker, announcing you’re about to bother them, increases the odds of you actually bothering them.

“The words we say become the world we see!”

if you catch yourself complaining instead of saying “Sorry for venting” or “Sorry for laying this on you,” try this simple switch instead — “Thank you for listening.”

Try to limit how much you say you’re sorry when there’s nothing for you to be sorry about.


“Does what I just said make sense?”

Not fully formed thoughts and ideas can get messy and you should be working at a place that allows you to explore. But if you feel as if you’re rambling and your message isn’t landing - back up and start again.


“I don’t necessarily agree with this, but…”

One of the major keys to advancement — if not the key — is found in how well you and your colleagues thoughtfully disagree.

Don’t hedge and take power away from your position by leading with “I don’t necessarily agree with this, but…” or “I’m not sure I agree with this…” 

Be mindful of how you start your requests or argument as it plays a role in how confidently your thoughts and ideas are ultimately received.



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