8 Common Words You Don’t Know Are Making You Sound Unreliable

Communication becomes more casual every day. Ten years
ago, we never would have felt comfortable including a smiley face in an
email to our boss, but now in 2017, that seems less unprofessional.

While
speaking and writing tend to have different guidelines, we still tend
to have more fillers when speaking vs. typing a social media post or a
quick message to a coworker. When we speak, we tend to allow ourselves
more fillers; I’ll never forget the time one of my professors in college
asked us to count the number of times we said, “like” in one day. Maybe
I was hyper-aware, but the number was astronomical.
While
it may seem like a small thing at first, the amount of times we use
filler words like “um” or “like” in a conversation can make us appeal
unreliable, no matter how educated or dependable we may be.

Your Word Choice Reflects Your Personality

It’s
no surprise that word choice and expression says a lot about someone’s
personality, but even the regularity in which words or word categories
are used can speak volumes about a person.
Psychologist
James W. Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin is one of many
experts who assert that the way a person expresses thought reveals
character. Any time a person speaks, they make choices – choices
regarding appropriate nouns and verbs. Those small aspects are part of a
bigger context which can provide clues into an individual’s large-scale
behaviors 1.
Some researchers are so fascinated by this that they have created
software to monitor a person’s word choice in order to predict the way
they will act in the future.

8 Toxic Words to Avoid

Here
is a list of words to limit in daily conversation. I promise you all it
takes is a once-over and you’ll suddenly realize how often you’re
saying every single one of them!

Al Verbs: Might, Should, Maybe and Would

While
these are some of the most common verbs in the english language, all
they do is make the speaker sound unsure of himself. Modal Verbs
include, “Might,” “should,” “maybe,” and “would.” While these verbs are
easy to include in casual conversation, think about how insincere it
makes a friend sound when you invite them to hang out and they reply
with something like, “Yeah, maybe. I might have something going on, but
I’ll let you know…” The next time you find yourself wanting to use this
kind of verb, allow yourself a short pause and mentally delete the words
when uttering the sentence. It’ll feel unnatural at first, but before
long you’ll be a pro.

Ok

I
think we can all agree this is one of the most annoying responses to
get when texting someone. Second only to “k,” “Ok” is such a blah
response. It makes you sound indifferent and unsure. Plus it’s not even
a descriptive term! It basically means “satisfactory.” 
Who wants that?
In text form, it can read like the end of a conversation or even a
passive aggressive way to try to be agreeable. These two letters serve
as a self-protecting mechanism to avoid giving concrete statements that
could be hurtful. If someone asks for your opinion and you regularly
offer “Yeah, it’s ok” to avoid hurting them, then you need to understand
why it’s not ok to say ok !

Awesome

This
word is tricky. If someone tells you about an incredible trip they just
took and you respond with, “Wow! That sounds awesome!” you’re probably
being sincere. But if you tend to offer up this word regularly, you
probably sound a little dense. Sorry! Saying “Awesome!” all the time
makes people feel like you don’t have any of your own opinions. 
I know, I
know, it’s just a word. But think about it for a second: When was the
last time you were having a conversation and your friend seemed to say
“awesome,” “oh wow. Awesome,” and “cool” after every other sentence?
I’ve been in that situation before and it was really frustrating! I
didn’t doubt that my friend actually felt that everything I was saying
was “awesome,” but the overuse of the word became insincere quickly and
made me want to stop sharing my story. It’s a vague word and usually
over-exaggerated. I’d rather someone use multiple words to show
enthusiasm or give me a compliment than just recycle one word over and
over.

Um

Perhaps the most
common filler word, “um” is, um, super, um, annoying! I hate to tell you
this, but you probably say it so much more often than you realize. For
one full day, try to keep a mental tally of how, um, often you, um say,
“um.” It’s going to shock you. Even if you’re an intelligent person,
overuse of the word makes you seem a bit delayed when it comes to
processing thoughts. It’s simple enough to replace it. Instead of
saying, “um,” try: “Let me think for a while.” You’re accomplishing the
same goal, but the longer sentence gives you a proactive appearance and
proves you want to take control the situation.

Like

Stop.
Using. This. Filler. Word. If you have ever tried to sit through an
hour of reality TV, then you know the word, “like” is the most common
word (like) ever. If you’re oblivious enough to have never noticed it,
you’re lucky. Once you start noticing, you can’t stop. The filler word
makes you sound childish and it usually isn’t a necessary filler. While
you could replace it with “such as” or something similar, if you really
analyze a sentence before you speak it, you’ll find you don’t need it at
all.

Actually

This word actually isn’t
necessary in a majority of situations. The word itself tends to give
the impression that whatever was uttered before was not true. If you
take the time to look at sentences with this word, you’ll find that
nearly all of them can be deleted without changing the meaning/message,
while it makes the tone stronger and more direct. For example: The
word choices you make can go a long way in showing the kind of person
you are. Actually, word choices can predict the kind of person you can
be in a conversation.
The statement is redundant.

Sorry

This
apology can make you seem weak and insecure if used in the wrong
context. While you should always want to apologize if a situation
warrants it, using “sorry” too often or even habitually can lead to you
seeming embarrassed and afraid. If you’re actually wanting to apologize
for something, feel free to use the word. But if you’re embarrassed or
nervous, explain those emotions in different terms.
Hopefully
While
the word itself seems like it should be optimistic, it actually has the
opposite effect: using this word implies you aren’t determined or
confident enough! For example, if you were my boss and you asked that I
have something done and on your desk in two hours, which response would
you rather hear from me:
No problem. I’ll take care of that now and get it back to you shortly.
Ok, sure. Hopefully it takes me a little less than two hours. I’ll bring it by when I’m done.
The second response doesn’t say outright that I won’t have the task completed, but it sure doesn’t seem confident. Hopefully
means you don’t feel in control of something or confident enough you
can create a change. In life, it will sometimes be necessary to be
hopeful rather than overly confident, but when it comes to work
situations, try to avoid the word as best you can.

The
great thing about the list above is that it doesn’t take much effort to
implement. In fact, all that’s required to stop using these
unreliable-sounding words is self-awareness. Today is a new day. Be
present in all conversations and realize how often you’re using the
words listed. Then take the steps to replace them and ultimately delete
them from casual chats and messages. You’ll be amazed at what a
difference it makes.

Also Read:  Different Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

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Updated: September 7, 2017 — 10:36 pm

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