If you haven't read Playing Big by Tara Mohr, I highly recommend you add it to your summer reading list. Mohr shares many insightful words of wisdom to help girls and women speak up, create, and lead. The focus of this post is about one of Mohr's chapters: Communicating with Power. What does that mean exactly?
I'll start by describing what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean using "just" as in "I'm just wondering..." or "I'm just an assistant researcher..." Powerful language doesn't start with "Sorry but..." as in "Sorry to bother you but..." And powerful language doesn't offer disclaimers. For example, how many times have you heard someone say "I know this is probably wrong..." or "I'm not an expert but..."
According to Mohr, this kind of language is playing it safe. Self-doubt shows right through when we communicate in this way. Powerful language, on the other hand, is grounded in confidence. Powerful language says "I believe the answer is..." If you have an adolescent daughter at home, listen for instances of hedging- "just" or "kind of" and also listen for apologies "sorry but..." During adolescence, teens become hyper aware of their peers and focus on what their peers think of them. How this translates in the classroom/dance studio/soccer field is shying away from taking chances. A student once told me, "I only raise my hand when I know the answer is 100% right." If that's the case for you or your son/daughter, ask "What would happen if you were wrong?"
For the next week, focus on powerful language. Scan your emails for words like "just" or "a little bit" and notice when you hide behind disclaimers. Communicate your points with confidence.