It’s easy to develop habits of speech where we insert unnecessary words into conversation. People who study speech patterns say some words post a subliminal red flag in other people’s minds. In fact, there are several phrases that cause people to automatically disqualify what you say. Breaking a speech habit can be challenging but might be worthwhile, especially when you want to be authentic and sincere.
Many people have a bad habit of inserting audible sounds into their speech, such as “and, um” or “so, ah,” which can be annoying to listeners. If you’re taking a public speaking or debate class, these “quirks” may definitely cause you to lose points. As irritating as these habits are, however, they don’t necessarily cause people to disregard what you say. There are several phrases, however, that might do just that.
Avoid phrases that qualify respect at the beginning of a statement
When you’re having a conversation or important discussion with someone, it is assumed that you will be respectful. Having said that, a brief review of public online conversation shows a tremendous lack of respect. When speaking, you shouldn’t have to announce that what you’re about to say will be respectful. Speech experts believe that doing so has an opposite effect. It can trigger something in the other person’s brain that makes him or her doubt your sincerity.
It’s better to simply speak respectfully than to announce that you’re acting out of respect. Have you ever heard someone begin a conversation with phrases, such as “With all due respect,” or “I say this with respect intended.” If we begin our speech with a qualifying phrase, it has a counter-effect in the other person’s brain. They might not consciously think it, but the unspoken question is: Is this person sincere? There’s an automatic warning that occurs subliminally. This warning suggests that whatever words follow the qualifying statement will not be respectful words. The brain is funny like that.
Additional phrases that make people disregard what you say
Do you know someone who says “but” a lot? It’s a small word that is useful at times as a conjunction, especially in writing. For instance, “I like the color purple but not orange.” The “but” conjunction makes it clear that there is a specific thing I like BUT also something I do not like. Using “but” when you’re speaking to someone can cause them to discount the first part of what you say. This speech habit often occurs when someone wants to issue criticism and tries to cover it up with a compliment. Here’s an example: “I really like how you have decorated this room, but that table is a little large for that corner; don’t you think?”
As soon as you end your phrases with a negative connotation (I.e., “That table is a little large for that corner.) that’s all the other person hears. Because of the “but,” it is likely that he or she does not believe that you like they way the room is decorated. It would be best if you simply offered the compliment and nothing more or offered constructive criticism with a suggestion for improvement. Instead, saying you like something and adding a “but” makes the person think you don’t like any of it. If the person has asked your opinion, then just say what you think: “I think the table would look better over here because it’s a bit large for that corner.”
People will believe you if you say that your ideas are stupid
If we lack confidence or feel nervous when we’re sharing our thoughts and opinions, we often try to compensate by warning people ahead of time, because we’re worried that they think we’re silly or unintelligent. Instead of just interjecting our thoughts, we disqualify ourselves from the start. Have you done this? Rather than speaking your mind, you begin by saying, “Okay, you might think this is a stupid idea,” or “You might think I’m crazy,” or “This is going to sound really silly,” etc.,
As soon as you put the thought into someone’s mind that you are stupid, crazy or silly, that’s what they’re going to think of whatever you say next. It’s really just another form of negative self-talk, which can have an adverse effect on your self-image and overall sense of well-being. If your goal is to be taken seriously when you speak, try to leave out phrases that cause people to doubt your intelligence, wisdom or abilities.
Develop speech patterns that help you accomplish your goals
What we say and how we say it has a significant impact on our lives. You might be surprised to learn that many public speakers lack confidence. In fact, some are terrified of speaking in front of other people. However, they learn to overcome their fears and to refine their patterns of speech to help them accomplish their goals. The words and phrases we use when we speak aren’t the only issues that can help boost confidence. The words we choose and the way we deliver them to others does, however, have a lot of influence over the ultimate outcome of our speeches and daily conversations. It’s worthwhile to learn how to break bad speech habits.