Words are the medium through which we express ourselves, and words form the base of our communication – be it written or spoken.
One should be very careful while writing words, because, it is the mastery of language which differentiates us. Words are slippery, and words are vulnerable. Words are like arrows, and once released, it can not be pulled back.
And when it comes to the Internet, then the modern-age communication has experienced a transformation; simply because every written word is saved forever. That email which you had sent 5 years ago is still saved at some server, the recipient can use that bunch of words and sentences to form an opinion about you.
Be it email, chat or innocent looking social media update – words are everywhere, and you should be very careful with them. If it’s spoken communication, then we can assume laxity for a moment or two because human mind seldom stores a listened word/sentence for a long time (unless those were spoken by Bill Gates or Steve Jobs); but if it is written word, then it is stored forever.
If you an entrepreneur, a manager, a professional or a housewife; it doesn’t matter. Your word is your reflection in this world, and you need to be protective of it.
Here are 7 phrases which should be avoided using in a written communication; and the reason behind is that these phrases can actually make you look stupid.
Don’t believe? Here is the list:
1) ‘As Far As I Know’:
While trying to make a point, or to emphasize on a fact, you may feel tempted to add ‘As Far As I Know’ to a claim. The good thing is that this may work on the reader, as he or she can assume that you have enough professional experience to make this claim.
But what if the claim is wrong? Your entire image and impression will be destroyed, because you have already stated that ‘As Far As I Know’. Always leave an open space, when you are trying to make a claim. And always leave a door open, in case the claim is proven to be wrong.
2) ‘In All Honesty’:
Studies have shown that those who use terms which include ‘Honest’ or any derivative of that, are actually not honest themselves. And they know it, hence, then will need to push their ‘honesty’, by writing it down repeatedly. When you use this term, the reader or the listener will automatically assume that you are not honest. Because an honest person need not write that he is honest.
Besides, this can be a great tool to judge the actual honesty of others as well.
3) ‘The Fact Is’:
Again, just like ‘Honesty’, the phrase ‘The Fact Is’ or ‘The Fact Of The Matter Is’ will automatically create a doubt in the reader’s or listener’s mind. Why do you have to push and emphasize what the fact is? Present your argument, your logic, and if the need arises, show the proof. Don’t simply tell what ‘fact’ is. Let the reader or the listener decide that.
4) ‘Believe Me’:
This is one of the most cliched and over-abused terms, when it comes to instilling confidence and rapport with the reader. Pushing and declaring ‘Believe Me’ creates an instant repulse in the mind of the reader. He is forced to assume that the logic presented by the writer is so weak, that he needs to shout ‘Believe Me’, in order to accept it. Don’t ask the reader to ‘believe’, because this happens automatically, and not by pleading or enforcing.
5) ‘Do You Believe Me?’:
This is another form of ‘Believe Me’ shout, albeit, in a negative way. ‘Do You Believe Me’ is often used by salesmen to establish a bond with the customer. Assume a salesman, who is sitting right in front of you, demonstrating how a water purifier works. In the middle of the demo, if he suddenly asks you, ‘Do you believe me?’, then ‘Yes’ is the automatic answer. And this yes spoken by the customer sub-consciously works in the favor of the salesman. But in written communication, this question will surely backfire, and the reader will be forced to re-evaluate their opinion about you. If you are really honest, then there is no way you should actually ask that. Let your action and your logic take care of that.
6) ‘The Real Issue Is’:
This tactic is often used by those, who have already spent considerable time in discussing an off-topic, and suddenly they realized that they need to come back to the point. But the issue with using ‘The Real Issue Is’ is that it creates mistrust within the minds of the reader. The reader will assume that the writer is wasting his/her time and simply call bluffs. And this simple misconception can cost you dearly. The real issue is that, be honest. And let the reader decide what is the real issue.
7) ‘To Tell You The Truth’:
This is another form of the above-cliched phase. When you write ‘To Tell You The Truth’, the reader will feel that whatever you have written or spoken before, was all false. A certain amount of mistrust will creep in, destroying whatever truth and facts you have stated. In a way, phrases such as ‘To Tell You The Truth’ sabotages all good work done before. Avoid it.
Bonus: Avoid using ‘I’ in the written communication form. The repeated use of ‘I’ will make you look like a self-centered bigot, who wants to establish dominance. If you are an entrepreneur, then usage of ‘We’ will be more fruitful, creating a positive image.
As per some studies, an average person says about 16,000 words in a day, which is 112,000 words in a week, and more than 5 million a year.
Words are precious, words are lethal. Words can make or break your impression.
Use it wisely.