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  • Tracy Hooper

Lose "a little"


Most people wake up in the morning and come up with their “to-do” list. I wake up and think of, or add to, my Words to LOSE and Words to USE lists! Words to LOSE such as, Fillers: uh, umm, like, you know…and Hedges, those small, sneaky, add-on words that linguists tell us, make us sound hesitate or afraid of coming on too strong. Hedges include just.

  • I just have a quick question.

  • I’m just circling back.

  • I just want to say, really fast. If we think we’re going to get interrupted.

Lately the Hedge that I’m hearing everywhere is, “a little.”

  • I’d like to offer a little context.

  • I’m a little concerned about…

  • Would you mind if I gave you a little feedback?

  • I know I’m getting a little granular here.

  • We’re a little behind schedule.

This example comes from a client who said to her team, “We are not a little behind schedule. We are two-weeks behind!” Recently, I went to a business lunch with 300 people, a national keynote speaker, and a panel of experts. In this one meeting, here’s some of what the presenters said:

  • I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself.

  • I’m a little competitive.

  • Here’s a little lesson I learned the hard way.

  • I told my team, ‘Let’s change it up a little bit.’

  • And, I probably stayed a little too long in that job.

You get the point. Lose “a little” It diminishes you -- your perspective, your good ideas, your strong leadership. And, subconsciously, saying, “a little” can chip away at your Confidence or other people’s Confidence in you. Instead, practice the Power of Pause. Pause and catch yourself -- right before you say, “a little.” Instead of,

  • I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. Say, “Here's my background.”

  • I’d like to offer a little context. Or, “I’d like to offer some context.”

  • Would you mind if I gave you a little feedback? Instead, “Would you be open to some feedback?”

  • We are a little behind schedule. No. “We are behind schedule.”

  • And finally, I probably stayed a little too long in that job. Simply say it. “I stayed in that job too long.”

Don’t hedge. Don't be a little bold! Be Bold. Thanks for reading.


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