How Your Speech is Damaging Your Career

I recently watched Jillian Michael’s interview with Tara Mohr, author of  “10 Rules for Brilliant Women“. During the interview they discussed the speech mistakes that we unconsciously make during interviews, and during our everday  professional life, that  can damage our careers. Tara Mohr is renowned for her self-help advice, she has been featured on: Big Think, CNN, Forbes, Huffington Post, Today Show, International Business Times, and USA Today.

In the interview, they talk about four features of our speech that can quickly turn a strong confident statement into an unsure question. The following are the four speech mistakes we make, that we probably don’t even know we are making:

Don’t Discount Your Own Advice

When you are presenting your opinion be careful not to unintentionally add on a ‘disclaimer’, you don’t have to apologize for having an opinion. During an interview, or while at work, try not to down play your opinion by adding a “but” to your sentence.

Saying “I think that…..” is a confident statement that others will take seriously and that will contribute to a discussion. In comparison, statements such as “I think this but…” or “I’m not an expert but…” often make the speaker appear uncertain and the statement appear unimportant.

Lost the “Just” Already

I have never thought about how often I say “just” but I admit I say it a lot (something I plan on changing). This four letter word can quickly turn a strong sentence into a weak one:

Stronger: “I am concerned” “Can I speak with you for a moment?”

Weaker: “I’m just concerned” “Can I speak with you for just a moment?”

While it may be just one word (haha), it may be the difference between leading a conversation and sitting on the side lines.

“Uptalk” is NOT a Good Thing

“Uptalk” is when we raise our pitch at the end of a sentence, like when we ask a question. When you raise our pitch at the end of a sentence, it makes it sound like you are not sure of yourself or confident in your decision/opinion. Tara recommends that we should focus on going down in pitch at the end of a sentence instead of up, this shows authority and confidence. Hey, Oprah does it so it must work!

Pause for a Moment

Whether you are in an interview or giving a presentation, in your mind picturing placing a period at the end of your sentence and then wait a moment. This will protect you from saying something you don’t mean to and helps you make sure that others have a chance to ask their questions.

While they focuse on applying these rules to an job interview, I think that they are definitely applicable to a person’s overall career.

Do you find yourself falling into these speech traps?

If you do, take Tara’s advice and don’t try to change all these habits at once, make this a long term project.

Check out Tara Mohr’s website for the “10 Rules for Brilliant Women“.