Can I just, I believe, I’m no expert but…… STOP!!

The use of apologies, pre-qualifiers, softeners and tagging, form part of common parlance for women. That’s bad news because they destroy credibility, betray a lack of confidence and negatively impact how you are perceived and therefore how your Personal Brand is experienced.

How to overcome the use of minimising language

The most effective way to change these verbal tics is unsurprisingly to become aware of the triggers. What situation or perhaps individual puts you on the back foot resulting in this minimising behaviour? When do you feel at your most and least confident?

Once you’ve established the pattern, it’s easier to prepare for and replace the offending phrases. I’d also recommend downloading the browser extension JustNotSorry from the Chrome web store. This will help you with emails and documents as it highlights self-sabotaging and apologetic language.

Here are some alternatives to the phrases that we often use to appear humble and non-confrontational

1. “I’m not an expert, but….”
Alternative: “In my experience, the best direction would be”

2. “The only thing is…”
Alternative: “Have you also considered?”

3. “Can I just say”  
Alternative: “I’d like to add”

4. “When you get a minute” “I’m sorry to bother you”
Alternative “this requires your input can you come back to me by X please?”

6. “Does what I just said make sense?
Alternative “Are there any questions?”

None of the alternatives when delivered in the right tone are rude or aggressive. In fact they remove uncertainty and vagueness which can only be a good thing. People like clarity.


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