In the professional world, everything you say and do affects your credibility. This includes your body language, your public speaking skills and your presentation skills, says The Muse’s Kat Moon.
Most people know that when you’re speaking, nonword filler sounds such as “ummm” and words such as “like” don’t help you sound smart and capable, but there are other commonly used words that can cut into your credibility with colleagues, clients and contacts, too.
1. Almost. We tend to use this word to imply not going all the way or not finishing a task. This conveys an inability to produce or achieve results. Instead, describe your progress and talk about what you still need to do to get the job done.
2. Someday. This is similar to almost. It conveys a lack of urgency by delaying the timeline for a task. If your employer gives you a task, it’s better to have a definitive timeline laid out for completion than to finish it someday. If you’re too busy to finish in the foreseeable future, it’s better to say no than to accept the task without a deadline.
3. Try. While you should always try things, expressing that you’ll try to finish a task or complete a project implies you don’t want to accept responsibility for your work. When you discuss your work, instead of discussing what you tried to do, discuss what you did do and the end result of the project.
4. Might. This word reflects indecision. While some decisions are hard, too much indecision can make people less confident in your choices. Replace the word might with will to appear like a reliable decision-maker.
— Adapted from “Drop These 5 Words if You Want to Be Taken More Seriously at Work,” Kat Moon, Daily Muse.