April 2018, Volume 2, Issue 4

Are You A Victim of Minimizing Language?

The ability to communicate effectively and confidently has a dramatic effect on our ability to advance, and at times, you may find yourself falling into the trap of using weak language that sabotages your efforts to present yourself with authority and confidence.

For example, look at the following sentence:

"I would just like to say I'm not an expert, but I do know a bit about the subject."

This one sentence says it all! By using the words "just", and stating that I am not an expert, but, you have reduced your credibility to almost zero! How many times have you heard people communicate this way? How many times have you yourself spoken this way?

Replace weak words such as: "I think", "I believe", and "I feel", for stronger options such as "I'm confident", "I'm convinced", "I expect". These simple replacements can make a difference in how your message is perceived.

Look at the same sentence using powerful words:

"I do know a bit about the subject and in my opinion...."

Another example of weak language is using tag lines at the end of a sentence. For example: "This is a great article, don't you think?" and "Our team is functioning great, isn't it?" A tag line at the end of a sentence weakens the statement. It lowers your authority as a speaker. It communicates that you are not completely confident and must seek reassurance.

Focus your communication at gaining respect above being liked. Avoid weak language so that people hear your message clearly.

Taking out weaknesses in your communication doesn't mean you are aggressive, or forceful. Not at all! The kind of strength you develop in communicating without diminishing language allows you to be direct and assertive and will create an environment for others to feel your authority, to see your credibility and to respect your expertise. Be yourself, be authentic and communicate fearlessly.

Become aware of when you use weak language and eliminate or replace the words and phrases that have a negative impact on your professional image.

True story: I coached a client who introduced me to someone who asked what I did for a living. "I work with senior leaders to help them adapt to and lead effectively in foreign cultures. I help my clients develop their global leadership personas," I said. It is hard work, it requires lots of planning, researching and interviewing, and I am quite successful at it. My friend's friend chimed in, "Oh she's one of those who can't get a full time job," then giggled. I felt diminished. This type of undermining is destructive to relationships. I, of course, bounced back and corrected her. I also learned how to respond to such underhanded comments.

These types of comments are passive-aggressive and many times they go unnoticed or get passed over as a joke. They are not jokes, they are destructive comments meant to undermine you.

You've probably been there. Maybe it's at work. Maybe you want to eat healthier so you can lose weight. Or maybe you're spending less money as a way to get your finances in order. Whatever the situation, most of us have dealt with a friend, a colleague or a family member who seems to enjoy knocking you down a peg.

It's called social undermining, and it may seem harmless, but it can take an emotional toll on you. You start to doubt yourself, you feel a lack of support, and after a while, and especially if it continues, you become resentful.

So how do you nip undermining behavior in the bud? Look at the following tips.

Understand the Signs

Before anything, make sure you're actually dealing with social undermining. We all put our foot in our mouths occasionally. What seems like social undermining might just be someone saying something stupid. For example, when you comment that you saved a bundle on your daughter's wedding and your friend comments, I agree "cheap" weddings could be great. Quickly realize that she may have been unaware that her comment was off and that what may have sounded to you like a criticism is really something she admires and It was an honest mistake; it was not intended to hurt feelings. However, when there is an underlying motive, you are dealing with a different scenario.

An "Underlying Motive" is behavior intended to hinder and weaken your goals or successes.

Take note of the following traits in someone who does this?

They do it to others: Take notice you're not the only one they speak to in such manner.

You feel defensive around them: You feel defensive, like you have to prove something, and you're not quite sure why.

They're judgmental: They like to gossip about the lifestyle choices of other friends or family members. They might disguise gossip and judgment as concern.

They're great at backhanded compliments: Their compliments, however, seem strange and insulting.

They overcompensate: They oversell themselves as supportive, nurturing, or caring and use statements such as, I'm only saying this because I love you and care about you.

They tempt you: They steer you away from your goals by offering tempting alternatives. When you're trying to stick to a diet, they urge you to eat unhealthy food. When you're trying to save money, they tempt you to splurge.

If you really are unsure if the person you are communicating with is undermining you, ask someone you trust to observe and ask them what their thoughts are.

I end this piece with my famous quote: "Fortitude is the foundation of successful communication – and successful communication is the foundation of success." © 2018, Candida Marques Global Arrival, LLC

Americans the Can-Do People

Americans are known for being the people who get things done. In order to explore this mindset, let me point out a thing or two about how history plays a role in the "Can Do" attitude that prevails in American culture.

After the Civil War the US government did two things:

  1. Initiated the Homestead Act
  2. Supported Railroads

These two things supported a Westward Expansion that is still the essence of American culture.

The Homestead Act was the idea that the government would give individuals 40 free acres if you farmed land. You would have to farm for 3 to 4 years in order to get the land for free.

If any of you watch Alaska Frontier – the Kilters started off this way.

The US government also gave free land to the railroad companies in exchange for them building the railroad.

A popular TV show that depicts this theory is: Hell on Wheels.

The idea was to unite a nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Hence, one popular patriotic song "Oh Beautiful"...from sea to shining sea."

With this expansion and the uniting of the United States came advertising. It was a huge campaign of westward expansion. The ads were mainly from railroad companies because they would build the railroad and then sell tracts of land in various places along the railroad line. The idea was to build towns and cities, thereby making land more valuable.

However, this idea was not new to the US. When the European settlers arrived in from Europe, they had "land hunger," they moved westward to get land and to create a different social structure than Europe had.

In Europe, farmers lived in small villages with the farmland outside the village. Which is why in Europe when you travel the countryside, you go from village to village.

In the US, however, the European farmers created a new layout; they farmed land on huge tracts with the farmer and the house, barn, etc., all being separate from each other with no central village.

An example of this mindset was Daniel Boone, who settled the wilderness. Whenever he saw smoke from a neighbor's chimney, he moved further west. If someone was so close to him that he could see smoke from their chimney, than to him, the place was too crowded.

He started in Virginia and ended in Missouri.

There is an American saying that stemmed from this: "Elbow room, said Daniel Boone."

Can you see how history shaped the American's value of everything BIG
and of the CAN DO mentality?

Let us explore some of the beliefs that developed from these two acts:

Mobility – traveling westward and back to the east to visit family – the idea of living outside the family clan.

Freedom – being able to move wherever one wanted with a solid means of getting there.

Gun ownership – to be used for the purpose of defending oneself and one's personal property.

A good wife – implies a masculine society where men are in charge. Moving West was dangerous and men ruled the environment, they created their own laws and developed their own patterns of behavior to ensure their survival. Men tended to the land, protected the family from attacks, and provided food from hunting, whereas, Women tended to the children and the homestead.

An American value that stemmed from these attitudes is:

Do your own thing, be independent, be self-sustaining, and protect your freedom.

Stay tuned for next month's article when I further explain how these values play themselves out in the work place.

I end this piece with the following: "Understand the history behind why people and cultures do the things they do, it will help you shape your very own behavior." Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2018.

Culture and Understanding....

Quick Tips for Working with Americans

Try not to sound too worried about taking risks or trying something new; you may be seen as being pessimistic.

Don't be afraid of trial and error; admiration is a good thing in the USA.

Careful about over analyzing or over planning; impatience runs deep.

Don't expect tradition to be very impressive. New is always better.

Never act satisfied with the way things are; things can always be (or get) better.

Quick tips for Americans Working with Foreigners

Some cultures rely on tradition. Listen and be patient, it may save you from re-inventing the wheel and may actually speed things up for you in the long run.

Worry and concern is not always a bad thing; it only means your counterpart works carefully. It doesn't mean they are timid or slow to learn, in some jobs, being careful and detailed is needed. Use this strength if it pertains to the job at hand.

Some people from other cultures will need thorough information. It doesn't mean they are dense, just that they need additional information to grasp different concepts. They will trust you if you add in some "background information" or explain things a bit more carefully to them.

Creativity manifests itself in various ways, just because a person doesn't seek change does not mean they are not creative or innovative.

Rule of thumb: "Know your people, be where they are and know how to position them within your organization". Candida Marques – Global Arrival © 2018.

Image Map

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences