Ah yes, the world of workplace talk. It’s all about confidence when we speak to coworkers, clients and bosses (even if we sometimes fake it till we make it). Combine that confidence with great communication skills and you can be unstoppable. However, it’s important to be aware of what our language conveys to others. Next time you’re speaking to colleagues by the coffee machine (or over the computer if you’re about that work from home life), try replacing these words to sound confident.

1- “Sorry”

Let me stop you right there— are we actually sorry? Or is it a way we’ve made ourselves feel lower in conversation? Now, if you did mess up, it’s important to apologize. But it seems the word has become a filler word like “um” or “like”. Your apology sounds more authentic when you’re sincere, which means– use the word sparingly.

2- “I feel that…”

While this may seem harmless, it’s important to note the word “feel” in this statement. The word projects that you’re still not sure or THINKING about the proposal or next project. Be definitive. Which sounds better; I THINK I know what the project will be, or I KNOW what the project will be? In a world where women have to prove themselves constantly, it’s important to project self confidence!

3- “No problem!”

While a short and easy task may warrant this response to your coworker, the long laborious task you and your coffee were up all night working on is more deserving than acting as if it was nothing. Saying “you’re welcome” is not a sin; it’s expressing that you’re thanking them for the recognition of your hard work! I’ve said this phrase so often that it feels insincere now.

4- “This is probably wrong but…”

Girl- OWN your knowledge! It may be wrong, but why start off showing a lack of confidence? It’s simple, If you don’t believe in your idea neither will your audience. As females, we often attempt to appear humble in front of others, but allow the criticism (or praise) to come from others AFTER you state your idea.

5- “When you have time…”

This phrase tends to never have a clear response. If you need specific information, it’s important to set a clear timeline when you need something. This doesn’t mean you should be rude to the person when asking for the update that you want, but it’s important to keep your requests short, sweet and to the point. It’s similar to the phrase “let me know!”— there’s no timeline or expectation. Let’s be honest, who ever “has time” anyways? You get my point, let’s just set clear expectations.

Katelyn Norwood is a member of the Quotable Magazine Editorial Team. Between writing and talking about the latest political issue, she can be found with her plants.

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