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Tips for talking like a leader

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Without knowing it, you may be saying things that make you sound less leader-like.

Here, courtesy of the editors at Reader’s Digest and Business Management Daily, are some tips that can help you come across better.

1. Be careful with “hopefully.” It means “in a hopeful way.” Do not say, “Hopefully, your team wins.” What you probably mean, and should say, is “I hope your team wins.”

2. Watch out for “more importantly.” Why? Because only a pompous blowhard says things “more importantly” than the next guy. Say “more important.”

3. It’s “between you and me.”
Insecure speakers favor “between you and I” because it sounds formal, but “me” is correct because it’s the object of the preposition “between.”

4. “I feel badly” suggests that you have nerve damage in your fingers. If you mean that you feel regretful or just plain awful, say, “I feel bad.”

5. Don’t say “equally as well.” You may be thinking of “as well as,” but here you don’t need “as.” Say, “I speak Latin and pig Latin equally well.”

6. Learn “lie” and “lay.” They’re not interchangeable. I “lie down” right now and “lay down” yesterday. However, if there’s an object involved, it’s “lay” and “laid.” I hope you’ll “lay down” your Glock this instant because last week’s robber “laid down” his weapon too slowly. 

7. Never say “the person that.” Human beings always are “who.”

8. It sounds homey, but don’t say “most everyone.” Either say “almost everyone” or “everyone."

9. Avoid saying “very unique.” Unique means there’s only one. It’s not a matter of degree.

10. More cuts: “Merge together,” “absolute necessity” and “free gift” should be “merge,” “necessity” and “gift.” The other words are redundant.

11. Your decisions affect people.
They don’t “impact” anyone; “impact” is a noun that describes one thing colliding with another. As a leader, you’d rather your decisions affect everyone than smash into everything.

— Adapted from “How to Sound Smarter,” Melissa DeMeo and Paul Silverman, Reader’s Digest.

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