Executive Presence: Speaking With Conviction

A simple step to speaking with conviction is the elimination of low status words and phrases.

Kind of

Sort of

Just (as in “I just want to suggest”)


To be clear, in everyday casual communication, there is nothing wrong with any of these words. But when you want to speak with conviction, the words you habitually choose, might be making you sound unsure or not confident.

There are times when I make suggestions, and times when I make recommendations. I’m deliberately choosing words that are effective to convey not just meaning, but how I want to be perceived.

Here is a tip. Be careful falling into a pattern of habitual apology. The word “Sorry” can be a valuable way of mending fences but if we’re constantly speaking from the platform of apology, being sorry for having a different opinion, and punctuating our speech with sorry, we can loose credibility.

It’s important to think about the words that you are going to use when conveying difficult messages, leading when the pressure’s on, and getting buy in, so choose your words carefully. Need proof that words matter? Here is a link to an article criticizing US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf using the word “Folks” when describing terrorists.

The video accompanying this article no longer works, so you can find the full press release here:

The relevant part to this blog is at 26:16 (Click Here)


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