Coping with Communication

Are you one of those people who is always saying “sorry”? It’s really okay if you are. I used to be guilty of this myself. Saying sorry in conversation or over email was my default word. Sometimes I’d say it and really mean it, sometimes I’d say it to be polite, sometimes I think I’d say it to fill empty space. It was like a nervous tic. Sound familiar?

I noticed this a couple of years ago. It was a pivotal moment for me, which is how I remember. I was following up with someone via email and started it “Sorry for another email but…” and then it hit me, why the heck are you apologizing to this person? You’re just doing what you gotta do, that’s not cause to crumble. Stop throwing yourself under the bus for nothing or nobody will ever take you seriously.

Since then, I’ve taken careful notice of when I use these terms and have practiced keeping them out of my vocab unless actually necessary. The reason why? It was completely killing my credibility.

dont be sorry
So, let’s vow to practice saying “sorry” less. Hey, while we’re at it, let’s also practice saying “just” less. Even if we’re not fully sure of something at the time, we need to sound sure of ourselves and our motives.

Here are some classic personal examples from the awkward ol’ days that I’ve since axed from my repertoire:

THEN
“Hi ____, I just wanted to follow up to…”
“Hi ____, Sorry to send another email, I know you must be busy but, just curious if…”
“Hi____, Did you receive my previous email? If you have any questions, just let me know…”

Gosh, it was painful rewriting those. My fear and hesitation totally disguises my intelligence. Who would know that I’m fully capable of what I’m doing with that kind of instability? Just ask for what you need, Liz! Be direct.

NOW
“Hi ____, When can I expect…”
“Hi____, Hope all is well! I’d like to discuss our upcoming timeline…”
“Hi ____, Let’s touch base this week!”

Don’t get me wrong, kindness is key whether in writing or conversation, but I’ve come to find that there’s a certain art to being heard without sounding like a softie or a complete ass. It’s called common courtesy and confidence.

If you’ve taken up a job where emailing is required or if you’re striking up conversation, you too can practice avoiding these common terms and words so you don’t kill your cred. You will feel more in control and better able to communicate your real needs. You are your own boss, b. Don’t rain on your parade. Believe in yourself and be sure of yourself.

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