Communication: Words & Expressions That Destroy Your Magnetism

words and expressionPowerful communications are often killed by gratuitous remarks. Sadly, those spoiling their communication efforts are unaware of how they have hurt themselves. The following expressions that are flagged as “connection destroyers” are directly from chapter 6 of The It Factor: Be the One People Like, Listen to, and Remember.

These are words and expressions you are going to recognize in your own speech patterns every day. At first glance, you may argue, “Well that word isn’t so bad,” or “I never took that to be a negative.” Perhaps, some of us are fooled by their subtlety and popularity.

1. Misuse of the Word “Certainly”
If you use the word “certainly” only to answer a yes-or-no question with a positive, direct, and upbeat emphasis, you are one of the rare communications superstars!
If you are using “certainly” in any other situation as an attempt to demonstrate warmth or intensity, you are, sadly, creating a subtle yet nefarious communications disconnect.
If you’re a member of this ill-advised adverb pack, you think the word “certainly” strengthens sentences. It doesn’t.

Example: “We certainly are glad to be here today.”
“Certainly” adds nothing here but a healthy dose of insincerity. The sentence is more meaningful without it. If you were “certainly” glad to be here, you’d go to more trouble and say why.

2. “I Don’t See Why Not”
Trying to weasel out of a commitment with your words casts instant doubts on your credibility and trustworthiness. And it all starts innocently enough.

“I don’t see why not” has lots of dirty little relatives, as they will hurt you just as much. Here’s my short list of “cover your rear” words that can ruin your credibility.
“As far as I know . . .”, “For the most part . . .”

3. “More than Happy” Is More Than Creepy!
“More than happy.” takes no effort and does possible harm. Instead let “happy” stand on its own, and add a sentence or two with an action verb that demonstrates that you are actually
happy to complete the assigned task.
Example: “I’d be happy to bring you cream. I’m heading for the kitchen right now.”
I also want you to be cautious with “really” and “so very much.”
“Really” and “so very much” aren’t communications killers, but they undermine your strength and conviction, and that makes them dangerous.

4. Saying “I Am Sorry” When You Are Not Sorry
I plead guilty for this one. It’s one of those people-pleasing aspects.
Here is the simple rule: Don’t say you are “sorry” when you aren’t.

You can smell the dishonesty in the room when someone says in a harsh tone, “Well, I’m sorry, but I just have to disagree.” You know they aren’t sorry at all. They are indignant, furious, upset. They aren’t sorry, at all! You’re sure of that. And that’s not okay, because they are not being direct. Once they interject a facetious tone it hurts the whole connection process.

5. Never Tell Others You Are Being “Honest”
We can quickly dispose of “honestly” and its evil dastardly cousins, “to tell you the truth” and “frankly.”

Just because others use these expressions every day doesn’t mean you should. Take a look at their literal interpretation:
“Honestly . . . because we both know my integrity is usually in doubt.”
“To tell you the truth. . . . because I exaggerate incessantly.”

When you say “honestly,” your listener consciously or unconsciously starts to wonder about you. Why do you have to say you’re being honest? You shouldn’t have to point it out . . . ever!

6. “I’m Just Saying . . .” Means “I’m Just Criticizing You”
Sometimes we like to criticize people but want to remain pristine and cordial by pretending we haven’t said anything critical at all.
Have you noticed that whenever you add, “I’m just saying,” it’s never preceded by a positive statement.
Example: You may say: “I think your budget projections are way off, but I’m just saying.” What the other person hears is: “I think your budget projections are way off, but I’m just questioning your competence.”

Some of these words have come out of my mouth in the past and still slip out
every now and then. It’s impossible to cleanse yourself of them
every moment of every day.
Take a look at the above sic and pick out the one that irritates you most. Count how many times you hear someone else use that expression today. Imagine how much more powerful each speaker would be without all those lame expressions.

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Jean Browman--Transforming Stress said...

I'm guilty of saying "certainly". I will seriously think about changing that. I assume you don't like "seriously" any better? :)

Marie said...

wow - You hit the nail on the head with some of these for me! #3 is my problem. "so very much" so and also - I've noticed that I say "truly" more than most people say "reallY". Unfortunately I truly do use "I'm just saying" more than I should...and usually it is with my family members.....I mean..really - honest, I was just saying....

I'm working on it!!

Shamelle said...

@Jean: Um... I have a habit of saying "seriously" more than "certainly"! Believe me its as bad as "certainly" he he

@Marie: Yes, I can see that you are working on it ;-0)

Robin said...

Hi Sahmelle - interesting. I found as I read your list, that the sayings resonated with me instantly - in the way you described them. Thanks!

rummuser said...

Wow! You certainly packed a punch on that post. I shall now keep a close watch on what I say and what others say too!

Mark said...

This is great advice. One of my favorites is to remove "but" from your vocabulary. When you say "but" it typically negates everything you said before, exp. "I would love to do that but ...
You could borrow my car, but ...

Anonymous said...

just be yourself and don't worry about this kind of self help stuff it just make you self conscious. Just think of it this way, GWB didn't need any of this self help stuff to become president. Just be a dumbass and you can be the next president of the USA.

Anonymous said...

I make a decent living in communications, and my $0.02: some of these tips are misguided (especially #1). Strategically used, 'certainly' is quite effective.

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