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Don’t hem & haw: Speak like you mean business

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in Human Resources

Issue: The phrases you use to offer your ideas can sabotage your credibility with other people.

Benefit: Nobody takes you seriously when you don't speak confidently.

Action: Take the assessment below, and begin to eliminate the self-limiting habits you uncover, one by one.

When you talk, do people listen? Sure they do, but are they hearing your great ideas, or are they distracted by your personal speech patterns?

Take a few minutes to conduct a quick speech audit. Identify idiosyncrasies that can interfere with your message.

Mark each statement "True" or "False" to see how well people listen to you:

n 1. I often say: "Do you know what I mean?" or "You know?" at the end of my sentences.

Analysis: Those phrases strip your authority. You sound indecisive or unsure.

n 2. I usually ask: "Wouldn't it be a good idea if ...?" or "Don't you agree that ...?" before presenting my ideas.

Analysis: State your opinion without sounding like you're asking permission.

n 3. I frequently say: "I think it's a good idea" or "I think it might work."

Instead of hedging your statement, state your case decisively: "It's a good idea to ... ."

n 4. I make self-deprecating statements such as "This will probably sound stupid, but ... ."

Analysis: You run the risk of people agreeing with you!

n 5. I end almost every sentence with a question.

Analysis: That sounds as if you lack conviction.

n 6. People often finish my sentences.

Analysis: You're taking too long to deliver your point.

n 7. People often talk over me when I'm speaking.

Analysis: You may be talking too softly. Speak up and hold your own.

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