8 common phrases that can ruin your credibility

The opposite day my husband and I had been watching the information and a politician discussing the state of affairs in Washington started with “in my humble opinion.” Over the course of his quick interview he repeated that phrase 4 or 5 occasions. He was a great speaker apart from this.


He had a lot to say, however all we bear in mind of his interview was “in my humble opinion.” Expressions like these are referred to as “caveats”—phrases tucked into our speech to qualify what we’re saying.


“Caveat” comes from a Latin phrase that means ‘beware.’ After we use caveats we actually warn our viewers to watch out for what we’re saying. To sound extra credible, take away the next caveats from your speech. 


This is without doubt one of the most common expressions of this type. It additionally pops up as “actually,” or “let me be trustworthy with you.”


While you use this caveat, you’re warning your viewers that all the pieces else you’re saying is probably not true. Suppose you announce, “Our workforce will full the challenge on time, however to be trustworthy, it’s going to take a giant push.” The second half of the sentence starting with “to be trustworthy” implies that the primary half won’t be true. 

Why plant doubts in your viewers’s thoughts? Take away this caveat and state what to be true.


We hear this one rather a lot, normally indicating that the speaker desires to qualify what she or he is about to say. Variations embody, “it’s simply my opinion,” “in my humble opinion” or (for texters) IMHO.



Calling your views simply an “opinion” weakens your assertion. It suggests your contribution displays a private whim or bias, reasonably than a reasoned argument.

Take away this caveat. You may substitute it with the stronger “I imagine.” Or, even higher, present the explanations you’ve taken this stance. The viewers will sit up and take discover.


Audio system who preface their feedback with this caveat, could use this expression to sound humble and accommodating. However in truth, they recommend their remarks are redundant—and never price listening to.


Suppose earlier than you communicate, and when you really feel any individual is aware of what you’re about to say, both don’t say it, or current the data in a brand new, forceful method. Folks don’t thoughts listening to a brand new slant on a subject they’ve thought of.


We frequently hear this one from individuals who could also be completely certain of their views however wish to sound humble. A junior staffer may say, “I’m undecided, however I feel we can minimize our assembly time down by one hour. Right here’s how.” By the point we get to “right here’s how” we’ve dominated out any knowledge from this fledging workforce member.

Remove a phrase that declares, “Don’t take heed to me.” Simply plunge into what you imagine. Others will take heed to you and reply to your good concepts.



This expression initiatives weak point and uncertainty—why ought to anybody care about these views?

If a monetary analyst says, “We anticipate inflation to extend, however I might be incorrect,” we don’t know what to imagine. The knowledgeable basically has dominated himself out as an knowledgeable.


Depart this caveat out and ship a extra considerate response: “We anticipate that inflation will enhance. Right here’s why.” Develop on these factors, and present you’ve thought of varied contingencies. Don’t create the impression that you’re over your head in coping with the topic.



It is a self-inflicted wound. Listeners will instantly low cost the phrases that observe. Think about a job interview the place a candidate asks, “That is most likely a silly query, however can you inform me whether or not I might earn a living from home.” In reality, it’s a silly query. The candidate betrays that they haven’t finished their analysis—and reveals they don’t deserve the job.

If your query is legitimate, ask it. If it’s not, don’t. However don’t flag it as a dumb query.


This innocent sounding caveat is one other credibility killer. It’s generally used when a senior particular person doesn’t wish to sound overpowering. A boss may say to a junior workforce member, “Only a thought, however are you on the lookout for a mentor?” Whereas the intention is honorable, the phrasing undercuts the suggestion.


A greater method of expressing your views—with out sounding authoritarian—can be merely to say, “Have you ever considered discovering a mentor?”


This caveat, together with expressions resembling, “Do you thoughts?” or “If that’s okay,” weakens you—and sounds a bit edgy.

One may say to somebody they admire, “In case you don’t thoughts, I’d wish to ask you ways you constructed such a profitable profession.” The prefatory expression, “In case you don’t thoughts,” makes it sound just like the speaker is coming into territory the place she could not belong. It suggests the listener might thoughts the query. In case you use this phrase when asking about somebody’s well being or job, you is likely to be hinting that what follows is impolite.


In case you’re shut sufficient to that particular person, and the query is suitable and necessary, ask it with out the caveat. In any other case, holding again is the easiest way to go.