As a business owner, manager or leader of any type, you understand the importance of effective communication to form relationships, build trust in your team and relay your expectations.
If you ask most leaders, they’ll probably say they are great communicators and that their teams feel supported and guided. Yet, the truth is, too many leaders only think they’re great communicators and, in fact your word choices may be weakening your efficiency and clarity because they do not support great communication.
Let’s explore words that great communicators and leaders know to avoid, and how you can replace them to be more effective.
With this word, you’re giving zero direction or affirmative information. Whatever precedes or follows “perhaps” is, in essence hypothetical and therefore cannot be relied on.
For your team, this can be especially frustrating because they don’t know what is expected of them or how they should perform.
Avoid using “perhaps”, in favor of being more concise and clear. If you don’t have an immediate answer to a question or problem, tell your team member you will follow up or get back to them, when you have more clarity.
“Maybe” is similar to “perhaps,” but is used even more widely. It’s basically a lukewarm answer, that is often used to get out of difficult or complicated situations.
If your answer to a question is “maybe”, you’re better off just saying “I don’t know”, and then asking for feedback.
We all know what “bad” means, but in the workplace it lacks specificity. Telling someone an idea is “bad” doesn’t give any basis of how to improve or why the idea is inadequate.
Instead, try using more specific words like disorganized, inefficient, time-consuming, uncreative, costly, etc., as they could all be reason for why something is “bad”, but they also give helpful feedback for how to make it better.
As a leader, you have to be more conscious of your words and how they affect others, especially your team members and clients. It is inevitable that you will occasionally misspeak or mince your words, but by having greater awareness of how you’re coming across, you will continue to improve!
Kelly is a Freelance Writer and Editor, yogi, foodie and culture enthusiast. After living in Italy, Germany, Costa Rica and London, Kelly decided to take an extended travel adventure, making her way around the world while documenting the places and people she meets along the way.