• Rahul Kolle

When credibility goes bust

The language we use can change the way we are perceived. We all wish to be taken seriously at work and seem credible for the work we do.

There is however an obstacle to sounding confident - using "filler phrases". Most of us are habitual offenders and I'm guilty of using these phrases just as much as the next person! Writing this article serves to be a personal reminder. These phrases take the form of empty chatter that doesn't mean anything. They're a part of our vocabulary as trigger movements that help us start and end sentences.


The next time you use these phrases in a meeting, be rest assured that you've unintentionally told your audience that it's time to take out their smartphones and make better use of their time.

  • TO BE HONEST” This is the most common filler phrase. It is as if to imply that you've not been totally honest with your audience before this. Why plant doubts in your audience's mind?


  • IN MY OPINION” Calling your views just an “opinion” weakens your statement and implies that you're no expert on the subject. You could consider replacing this phrase with "I believe" and watch your audience begin to take you more seriously.


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  • I’M NOT SURE” We hear this one a lot from people who are perfectly sure of their views but want to sound humble. A junior engineer might say, “I’m not sure, but I think we can meet monthly instead of weekly.” By the time we get to our actual message, the listeners have stopped paying attention.

Eliminate a phrase that loosely translates to “Don’t listen to me.” and state plainly what you believe.

  • I COULD BE WRONG” If you could be wrong, why speak up or expect to be paid any attention to? This phrase shows weakness and doubt.

  • IF YOU DON’T MIND” This caveat, along with expressions such as, “Do you mind?” or “If that’s okay,” weakens your language and does not inspire confidence.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the list goes on. By dropping these phrases altogether, we instantly begin to sound a LOT more confident and our listeners take us more seriously. To sound more credible, remove the following phrases from your speech.

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