People draw conclusions about your competence and professionalism from the way you speak, so make sure these four things don’t come out of your mouth.
- “Just.” “Just” statements, such as “I’m just wondering ...” and “I just thought ...,” decrease your power and the effectiveness of what follows.
- “Actually.” “Actually” statements, such as “I actually have an idea ...” and “I’d actually like to ask a question ...,” make it sound as though you’re surprised to have a contribution.
- “I’ll take just a minute.” This sounds apologetic and makes you sound like you don’t think you’re worthy of people’s time and consideration.
- Raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a sentence. It makes it sound like you’re asking a question and aren’t sure of yourself.
— Adapted from “How to Kill Your Inner Valley Girl,” Vivia Chen, The Careerist.