One of my goals this year is to work towards using more powerful language in my business life. I have found over the past year, the way I write and speak seems to not minimize my own thoughts and opinions. I do this by incorporating (or to continue using) ‘weaker’ words. What I am talking about are words such as: I feel, maybe, perhaps, and the biggest culprit, JUST! I am not speaking of just as in the literal sense to be fair but rather the filler word.
When we use ‘just’, it tells our listener/reader that we are undermining ourselves, that we either doubt what we have to say or are addressing the point ever so cautiously, as if asking for permission.
Here are some examples, you’ll see what I mean:
‘I am just emailing you to address…’ vs. ‘I am emailing you to address…’
‘We just stopped by the office to check on things.’ vs. ‘We stopped by the office to check on things.’
‘I just have a few questions.’ vs. ‘I have a few questions.’
Do you see the difference ‘just’ in a sentence makes in the statement or power in the sentence? It really is amazing if you stand back and listen to people talk, truly hear the words they are saying. Anytime someone incorporates ‘just’ into their sentence, you may not know it, but they are losing credibility. I order to be assertive, respected and taken seriously, we need to be confident in what we say or write, therefore, leave out the JUST!
If you consciously pay attention to what you write/say, you will find these little buggers everywhere! I made it my goal for one week to take note of how many times I said/wrote it with a post-it on my desk, and was appalled at the number. Now, when writing I consciously re-read trying to find ‘weak’ words and take them out. You would be surprised how much more effective my writing has gotten. I have noticed, colleagues and employees respond faster to those emails and messages without ‘just’ than those with it, and I get a more precise answer from them.
While we’re at it, take it out all together!
Instead of using just in the sense of immediacy, try using, a moment ago, or recently.
Instead of using it in the sense of exactly, try using the word, exactly, or precisely.
However, if you can’t stop using it in the literal sense, please do yourself a favour and eliminate the filler word.
Thanks for reading! xo