Yesterday I came across on book on my shelf called "A Woman's Guide to the Language of Success."
It was one I purchased back in the 90's – when I became the first woman real estate broker in our little town. I thought I'd better grab every advantage I could find because every other broker in town was predicting I'd fail – a woman couldn't be a real estate broker! (But my agents and I fooled them.)
It's a good book – and from my point of view its contents are valuable for both men and women.
- It talks about avoiding wimpy statements. Don't say "I think maybe…" when you could say, "Based on my research…"
- It advises against putting a question mark in your voice at the end of every statement. Not too many of us do that, but you probably know a few who do. They say things like: "My name is Mary?" It always makes me want to say "Well, is your name Mary, or are you not sure about that?" Usually it's women, and usually it's people who really do seem unsure of themselves. But I have known men who did it.
- It talks about avoiding passive voice with statements like: "A decision has been made by our team to…" Instead say "Our team decided…"
It also discusses a trap that parents often fall into – and that is picking up the language of their teen-aged children.
One of the worst is improper use of the word "like."
Using it where it doesn't belong marks a person as a ditz – and removes their credibility as a professional. I thought the use had faded over time, but lately have been hearing it more and more, and even saw it in an Active Rain blog post the other day.
I forget the exact statement, but it was along the lines of "I was like, who priced this home?"
After reading that blog post I started trying to think if there was any statement that could start with "I was like" and make some sense. Here's what I came up with: "I was like a fish, streaking through the water." "For a moment I was like a movie star, with all eyes in the room upon me."
Once, when this use was running rampant, I heard one of my agents on the phone. She told a customer that a home had "like a fireplace." Later I asked her what the home had that was "like" a fireplace.
She got mad.
I told her to work on talking like a professional adult, not a high school student.