When we spend time with people, at work or personally, we start to notice their speech habits. Sometimes it drives us nuts, like the American that says “Awesome” when it isn’t, the teen that says “Whatever” in answer to everything or the person who throws in “I mean…” as a junction to every sentence.
I was talking to a woman who had a pleasant, although slightly confusing habit. When she was sharing her thought, she would interrupt herself to say “…and you’re right.” and continue on with her thought. I had no idea what I was right about but I felt nice.
In the last few months I’ve found myself noticing verbal habits that I’m certain are holding people back. They are things people toss in completely unconsciously, but they deter from the image of professionalism and experience that they’d like to portray.
5 Habits to watch for
Here are 5 things I hear, that you might want to watch for in your own speech.
1. “It’s difficult”
It would surprise you the number of people who use this as their filler while they think. When asked a question like “What do you think he expected?” they answer “It’s difficult, maybe he thought…”
When “It’s difficult” or a version like it pops up several times in a conversation, the listener begins to doubt this person’s ability to solve problems. The irony is they often follow it with a good answer but it is already tainted by the sense that they are finding it a struggle and would rather walk away from the issue.
If you hear yourself using the word “difficult” fairly often, try something neutral like “It’s interesting…” that makes you sound considered and that you’re contemplating the options.
2. “The problem is…”
Similar to the one above, when someone peppers their conversation with “The problem is, the company…” “The problem is, Bob isn’t willing to…” “The problem is, you can’t count on the trains…” it all sounds like you’re laying the blame. Continue reading