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Control yourself by controlling your speech patterns

11 Ways to stop diminishing speech patterns, yes 11

I have met many confident, intelligent women in my life, I have worked with them, for them, been married to one, have had many different kinds of relationships with them. 
But one of the things that they had in common was the way that they communicated.  They would share an idea, give a command, make a suggestion in a way that showed confidence, but then took it away. They would waffle, use apologetic phrases and look down, or shift their eyes as they spoke. They would also tend to criticize people, typically men who communicated in the opposite fashion, as commanding, controlling, and obnoxious.
Unfortunately they would diminish themselves and their ideas with their own words and as a result people would dismiss them, not take them seriously and perceive them as weak, timid, or even worse as an idiot.  
I would get mad that they seeming destroyed something that was great before it even had a chance.  Because I cared for these people and the influence they had on others I helped each one of them that I could with this debilitating issue and worked with them to eliminate the diminishing speech patterns and speak more like the men that they disliked for speaking in that way.
I realized that these speech patterns were not isolated to just a small group of women , but to many people and especially women who for hundreds of years up untill the turn of the century were squelched from participating in activities and conversations outside of homemaker duties and treated in a seen and not heard fashion
I compiled the list below as a guide to stopping or eliminating these typical detrimental communication patterns that diminish what should otherwise be a significant and relevant contribution.
Here are eight ways you might be undermining yourself with your words–and eight ways to stop:
1. Don't be lieutenant Columbo! in the 70's there was a TV show about a homicide investigator who played the fool in order to gain control of the situation and get information out of people by surprise.  He would act confused scratch his head and make statements like;: I’m just wondering … “I just think" … “I just want to add"  "I just have 1 question"… The word "Just” diminishes what you have to say. “Just” takes the strength out of your statement and conveys that what you have to contribute isn't really that important. You either want to do something or not.
The word "think" is also diminishing. It shows a lack of confidence in what you are saying. "Know" something or have an opinion, don't "just think".  You don't want to play the fool so stop using "just". and "I think".  Practice making statements and listen to where you use these phrases, then remove the word "just" and repeat the phrase without it.  Instead of saying "think", try stating things in a logical pattern. I think we should go to the store, can be rephrased as "It makes sense to go to the store"
2. Don't ever, ever start communicating an idea by discrediting it!  I often hear “I may be mistaken … Then why are you saying it?  Find out the facts and get back to me. or if you know what you are talking about say it. 
“I’m just thinking but …there are three words that shouldn't be here. "Just Thinking and But".  But what? This is what that phrase is stating.  You're minimal though process has developed an unsure statement and I shouldn't listen to you? That's not what you want. 
“I know you have more experience than me, but …” This does not need to be said.  State the message you want to convey. This statement is basically saying I'm about to talk out of my ass and diminish your experience and my ideas, expertise and experience simultaneously.  Not a good message.
You definitely don’t want to appear arrogant. You also don't want to sound totally unsure about what you are saying. It's a basic fear of being wrong. You need to get over it!  I have always been called a know it all, and outside of my own mind I am.  
I follow one simple rule; I don't speak unless I know what I am talking about. I know when to keep my mouth shut.  I do not contribute nonsense for the sake of contribution, and when I make statements I have facts that can be presented to back up my statement, therefore, I am always right, almost.  I have been corrected by other people who were also positive and presented new facts to me. “Well, I know you strongly believe this, but I entirely disagree because.......” these make for great debates. The first one to use diminishing speech loses.
3. "Actually.” “I actually like it.” ” Actually I thought it was entertaining..” “Actually” compared to what falsely, theoretically? "Actually" communicates surprise of your statement, or second guessing an original thought.  There should be nothing surprising about it. Simply eliminate this word from your speech. Unless you were lying the first time and now you wan to show what you actually think. As above practice speaking affirmatively "I like it" "It was entertaining" or "I found it to be entertaining".  Notice I eliminated "Thought", why? didn't you know it was entertaining?
4. Don't make your statements questions. There have been studies that show women raise the pitch of their voice at the end of a sentence, making it sound like a question. Listen and you will most likely start to notice this everywhere. Making a statement sound like a question diminishes its validity and strength as if you are looking for approval or completely unsure of the statement you just made. Make statements sound like statements; drop the tone lower at the end of the last word.
5. Don’t say you would “Like to take a minute” to say something. Just say it,  take the minute without warning.  
I too often hear women say, “I’d like to ask if I could take just a minute to consider this idea” What if someone says no?  Don't leave outs and loopholes, corner people into your idea by blurting it out. 
I also hear “I’m going to take a few minutes to go over the benefits.” this is like saying I'm about to waste your valuable time. To take is to eliminate or remove.  Go over the benefits make it exciting, don't tell people your going to take anything give them something instead. This is common in sales.  Things don't take and cost, they save, add value or are investments. 
 Additionally it can sound like you're apologizing  and implies that you don’t think what you are about to say is worthy of time and attention.
6. Don’t make your statement a question. If you want to suggest something do it in such a way that the person you are suggesting it to agrees with you. Spock from Star Trek was great at this. His statements would start out with; Logically we should.... How can you argue with that? You don't want to be illogical. This is another common practice in sales.  Remember if you want to get a point across or have an idea heard you are essentially selling it to the other person, making them think that is the only thing they should do. Instead of saying "I think we should, or "my suggestion is that...." phrase it as cause and effect. "We should purchase this, then we will have the tools we need."
You will need to exercise judgement strategically, as there are reasons to phrase things in the form of a question and not a statement in order to gauge the interest of a group that is likely to be resistant to it. Such as "if I could give this offer away to you, would you take it? 
Women more than men turn to questions rather than statements in order to avoid conflict.  They also tend to perceive a blunt to the point statement as instigation or leading and controlling, They use questions to avoid visibility, avoid power and responsibility which in itself is diminishing the capabilities that are present.  Women have been taught and unfortunately many still are taught that it is dangerous or inappropriate to state our ideas definitively and fear sets in which is detrimental to careers and life in general. This is where the perception of men being obnoxious, overbearing and controlling becomes evident, as women see it as wrong. Nothing is wrong with positively stating your ideas with strength and affirmation.
7.Don't beat around the bush! Get to the point.  My mother has always been a huge offender when it comes to this. Instead of stating what she wants she explains all the circumstances surrounding her choice along with all of the pros and cons, until you don't remember what she was talking about and you stop paying attention.
This is another example of "don't be Columbo." He would regularly start a statement off in the typical fashion described above and then get side tracked almost instantly by someones tie or watch, or his wife and what she liked.  The people he was speaking too almost always had to interrupt with "lieutenant!" "please get to the point of what were you going to say?"  If you want to get an idea across, this is not what you want people saying, you don't want an agitated and/or frustrated audience.
This referred to as "prattling" on.  It's caused by nervousness, lack of confidence, feelings that what you are saying isn't that important to other people as it is to you. Take a breath and pause between your sentences.  This demonstrates confidence and that you are comfortable and believe in the value of your contribution. Breaths and pauses allow your audience to process what you're saying and helps you collect your thoughts.
8. Don't be negative, BE POSITIVE!  This goes for speech and actions. Negativity is extremely noticeable. Negativity demonstrates to people that you have given up, you don't have hope and that failure is eminent.  This leads them to question, if you feel that way, why are you even trying? It also brings other people down and instills negativity and hopelessness in them as well.
Negativity comes in many forms, from simple statement like "sure", "I guess", " I suppose","we'll see" to outright "I'll see it when it happens", "I doubt it", and body language like shrugs, frowns, staring down, slouching, tilting your head to the side and rolling your eyes.
9. Learn sales, get a or some sales books, watch sales training videos, go to a seminar, mine preferably. Learn the techniques.  Everything about sales is getting someone else to accept your idea. Sales teaches you positive language, focusing gestures, critical thinking and most importantly positive, focused, confident speech and actions. Posture, line of vision, different body language and phrases that convey confidence and belief to your audience.
10. Stop thinking that it makes you a strong woman because you do it "on your own" or that you need to be forceful.  That is simply wrong!  Everyone gets help.  Trying to do things on your own isn't smart, it's a good way to fail, annoy people, seem arrogant and give you a false sense of pride and power.  You don't want people to go with your idea because they want you to shut up and go away, you want people to listen, value it, and appreciate your contribution, unique insight, intelligence and well organized positive affirmations.
11. SPEAK UP!  I cannot stress  this more.  Good things do not come to those who wait, they come to those who get them.  If you have something constructive to say, don't hold back, say it; even if it's a disagreement.  If you have something solid to back it up you have nothing to worry about.  If it still isn't convincing, you can relish in the fact that another idea will most likely fail and they will look to you for solution.
The worst thing you can do is wait for someone else.  Whether it's waiting for them to ask you for input or waiting for someone else to come up with the idea so you don't have to, or worse they just tell you what to do. Just imagine what the reaction would be if you were the first to speak up and everyone was thinking the same thing you were. It would show them that you weren't afraid to speak up.  You were confident in your idea and everyone would be in agreement with you. How great is that?  
You can start changing your speech and patterns now.  Do the exercises I described previously and you will become cognoscente of your speech patterns which will allow you to correct them.  Practice in every day actions and record yourself.  Remember you want to be confident and assertive, not annoying and obnoxious.  Focus on one aspect at a time.  Start with eliminating "I just" or "I guess".  Use the breaths and the pauses as ways to stop yourself from using diminishing speech.
Your ideas need to be heard and you need the respect you deserve by stating your idea confidently, factually and firmly. Hold your head up, stand up straight smile and start speaking.