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5 Language Hacks to Turbo Charge Your Career & Relationships at Work

5 language hacks

5 language hacks

My 80 year old German neighbour causally changed my life one winter afternoon over coffee & cake. He said, “give great attention & action to the small things. People who can’t do that are foolish to think they will act when it’s their time for the big things.” Klaus was a physicist & committed his entire life to studying one – just one – particular atom structure.

This is could more true for how we think about our careers. Your message & contribution in the world is too important to not take seriously. The new world of work needs you to be your most creative & fearless self. And it starts with the little things, your day to day language.

1. Unnecessary Apologies

“Sorry for bothering you…”
“Sorry for the silly question…”

“Sorry for cancelling the meeting last week” is a necessary apology. However, the two
examples above are not. Unnecessary apologies create an immediate power distance in the relationship. Your dialogue suggests that you SHOULD be sorry. Skip them completely. Start your sentence where the apology would end.

Here’s Better Option:
“I’d really appreciate your take on this situation. When is a good time to come back to you?”
“I’ve come up with 3 ways to approach this question and I’d love to know which one you’d go with.”

2. Words that reduce you

“I am just writing to….”
“I’m just thinking off the top of my head…”
Using words that discount your credibility position you as person who distances themselves from commitment & accountability. As you’re reading this, that’s obviously not you. If you can’t commit to a clear sentence, how can you commit to a new project or a promotion?

Here’s Better Option:
“I’m excited to let you know…”
“I think…”

3. Unnecessary validation

“Do you know what I mean?”

Unnecessary validations confirm that you are not being clear. They often stem from a lack of confidence either in yourself or in your message. That’s no way to position yourself for a promotion or to a new client. Instead, make clear statements.

Here’s Better Option:
“Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions”
“Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.”

4. Phrases that play you down

“I’m no expert but…”
“You probably know more about this than I do…”
Not only are you telling the world that you’re not enough, you’re telling yourself you’re not enough. You are enough. Owing your words is owning yourself.
Here’s Better Option:
“I’m grateful I finally get to tap into your expertise. Do you have a minute?”
“I respect your opinion in this field. Can you share with me how you’d approach this

5. Hiding behind broad opinion

“Does everyone think taking this direction is in our long term interest?”
“Perhaps some people may not support new campaign?”
Questions are powerful tools when used responsibly. You may think you’re sounding
diplomatic or non-confrontational but you’re not. You’re being vague & missing out on a great opportunity to share your ideas.

Here’s Better Option:
“I think this is a great way to achieve our long term goals.”
“I’m concerned that this campaign is too technical and our original message isn’t begin clearly conveyed.”

Language is the path to exploring a part of yourself you’ve never known. Don’t let it sit inside of you dormant. It’s a part of you. Connect with it. Use it. Share it. Create an incredible life in the process.

Now go & share your message from the tree tops.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Brittany,

    I really enjoyed your post. It’s difficult to realize how many of these language no-no’s you’re making until you make a conscious effort to stop them. I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to backspace/delete the word “just” from a sentence in my emails because it’s completely unnecessary and discredits the legitimacy of what I have to say.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Newsha,
    That’s the way! Keep on backspacing those “justs,” “maybes.” You don’t need them, what you have to say is too important to play down. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

  3. “Language is the path to exploring a part of yourself you’ve never known.” I totally agree with that and something I need to work on. Growing up with a speech impediment has made me hesitate when I speak. I’ve come a long way but the old habits pop up every once in awhile. Mahalo and Aloha.

    1. Daniel, thank you for being such an inspiration and sharing such a personal part of yourself. It’s a pleasure to connect with you. Aloha from Germany.

      With kindness,


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