Post-pandemic: Don’t Let Qualifiers Seep In!

As we all re-enter the world of meeting people, persuading them to understand and accept our recommendations, I’ve noticed that many of us have gone back to qualifying what we say.

For example:

“What I’d just like to just try and do today is to hopefully walk you through some suggestions that I think could be of benefit to you and your team should you find these suggestions helpful. I feel that possibly our next step should be perhaps to go forward with these suggestions that might help your business.”

Yikes, what was that mess?

Here is that again, this time with all the qualifying words/phrases highlighted:

“What I’d just like to try and do today is to hopefully walk you through some suggestions that I think could be of benefit to you and your team should you find these suggestions helpful. I feel that possibly our next step should be perhaps to go forward with these suggestions that might help your business.”

Ahh yes. It’s the treacherous world of qualifiers that have seeped into our lexicon once again. For example, did the highlighting of “suggestions” surprise you? Suggestions is a soft word that does not invoke confidence. Better is “recommendations.” This lets your audience know you are basing your insight on experience, research, and knowing their business/industry.

Words That Weaken Our Recommendations

One of the casualties from our sheltered environment was the caution to not press someone on an idea or recommendation we have. We were trying to be sensitive to the whole situation when everything seemed so uncertain. Not wishing to offend or seem overly aggressive, we went backward and over-qualified our accretive ideas.

It’s time to drop these qualifiers when offering an idea or recommendation that requires a level of declaration and alacrity to have it accepted.

Listed below are the words I recommend (not suggest!) you use when delivering a well-thought-out idea:

DON’T SAY

DO SAY

Try

Will

If

When

Hope

Will

Think

Can/Is/Know/Am confident

Could/Should

Need/Must

Feel

Know

Suggest

Recommend

Like/Want

Will/Can

Might

Will/Can
Perhaps/Maybe/Kinda/Sorta

Will/Is

Wish/Hope

Will/Want/Am Convinced
Just

(Never say)

Maybe

(Never say)

You may not even know that you are using some of the left-column words. Next time you give a presentation, keep them in mind! Better yet, rehearse your presentation in front of a co-worker. Give them this sheet and ask them to tally how many times you use each of the left-column words. You’re likely to be surprised how many creep in! But then…you’ll be hyper-aware of them when you deliver the presentation for real, making your recommendations even stronger when you switch to right-column phrasing!

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