Word-Choice Can Make or Break Your Business and Success

In business, as in life, the way you present yourself greatly impacts how others perceive and react to you. Word-choice is one of those things. You need to speak in a way that shows confidence, knowledge, and the ability to perform.

Following are several commonly used words that diminish your standing with customers, coworkers, and associates.


The use of the word ‘Like’ has become very common. ‘Like’ is used to emphasize comparison but, it has become an unnecessary add-on and very poor word choice – that weakens the speaker’s impression.  “We, like (instead of need) to sell these today.”  or “Like, our meeting is set for 4 pm.”  It takes away from the power of what you are conveying and its seriousness. It makes you sound juvenile and not confident. DON’T USE IT!


Another unnecessary word that is used very often and can be detrimental to your standing in a business or professional setting is the word ‘Just’.  This word conveys a lack of confidence. It weakens your message and your standing. For example, “I was just doing the inventory.”  “I just need a bit more time to complete the project.”  Take for example: “I just need a moment of your time”  vs. ‘I need a moment of your time.”  The word ‘just’ lessens your authority – and it is not only heard overtly by listeners but is subliminal as well.  

You Know

“Well, you know, I really thought my presentation went well”.  “Let’s get together, you know, for that conference call at, you know, at 3 pm.” Although it is difficult to break away from often used word choices you must force yourself not to use them. Speak slower, especially if giving a presentation. Recite the presentation over and over and concentrate on not using filler words. “You know” infers uncertainty, a lack of authority, and inexperience.


An emotional word that if used too often can make you appear unclear about your ideas and judgments. “I feel good about this project’s development”.  “I feel that we can do better if we change the website.”  These sentences are about how you ‘feel’ and that is irrelevant. What matters is your opinion and why. Word choices such as: “want”, “need”, and “feel” are vague and inconsequential vs. clear and strong.


We all use poor word choices. But taken to the extreme and habitually is bad for your image and standing within your sphere of influence. Force yourself not to use them and get out of your own way when it comes to speaking with strength and authority.

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