Words are so important!
But we can often fall into bad habits to stop ourselves feeling like we're being pushy, aggressive, demanding etc…
What we're actually doing in those cases is unconsciously putting ourselves down, and giving others permission to do the same.
Let me give you some examples:
Think sentences like: "I just wondered if….", "could I just…."
We often use this as a way of asking a question without wanting to seem aggressive, or to make sure the other person isn't offended.
But this could imply to the other person's subconscious that we're not confident in what we're about to say or ask, and so they can ignore it if they want to!
Think "only if you have time…." "I can only do…."
This one was a huge personal challenge for me: I spent so many years in the corporate world being introduced as "Karen, she only works part time" that I started to introduce myself as "Karen, I only work part time" and I totally internalised (and gave permission to others for it to mean) not enough…. Ouch.
If we use the word only, we could be implying not enough, or telling the other person their perspective, time, etc. is more important than ours.
We are enough. Their perspective, time, etc. is NOT more important than ours.
In nonsensical places, think "I'm sorry but could you…." "sorry to ask a silly question…"
We are not sorry. We are more likely to be worried about how they might react to our question or request, and so we give them an easy out to prove we're wrong….
Its fine to use sorry when you are apologising for something specific, but never to apologise for being you.
- A little bit
Examples like "let me tell you a little bit about my project / product / service" "could I ask a little bit of a favour…"
This could be interpreted that any more than a little bit could be a waste of their time.
"let me tell you about my project / product / service" is not rude, it's being direct and setting the scene!
- Does that make sense?
We can use this one with good intention, but can you see that it's actually implying that we, the speaker, probably didn't share our message coherently?
The other person's subconscious could make it mean that we are not knowledgeable, or at least don't believe ourselves and so why should they?
There are better ways to ask the same thing: "do you have any comments or questions?", "what do you think about this?"
We start using these words as (totally understandable) methods of self protection, but actually by using them we are doing ourselves much more harm than good.
See if you can spot next time you use any of these, and try leaving out those little words or phrases - the sentences will likely still make sense, but will put us in a much more positive light in the other person's subconscious!