GROW! Marketing and Public Relations Tips

How Using Hedgewords Might Be Making You the Underdog

Posted by Megan O'Connell on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 @ 7:47 AM

The problem people find with emails is that it is difficult to communicate the tone of your voice. 


Depending on the mood the person on the receiving end is in will determine how it is read.

The thing you were trying to joke about? It might be read as being snooty. The friendly email sent to cover up the annoyance you feel? It will sound immature.

When you send a professional email that may sound rude, you can feel compelled to add a smiley face or put a “LOL” next to it. You need to stop doing that now – you will start to see a difference on how you are treated in the workplace.

Learn how to eliminate useless words from your emails and start getting to the point.

Own Your Voice

How often do you use “maybe,” “sort of,” “kind of” in a discussion? Often. I know, I do it too. These phrases are called hedgewords. They are phrases that don’t mean anything and are used when you aren’t trying to say something straight on.

For example, instead of saying, “I can take on that next big project,” you would say “I’m pretty sure I can take on that next big project.” You are using hedgewords.


You are undermining your own confidence by making yourself sound like you aren’t ready for the next step. It is either yes or no. I can or I can’t. Stop hiding behind your words and own your voice.

Higher Ups Will Start to Listen

Sending an email to the boss can be a game of sorts. We all know their inbox is overflowing and they are constantly thinking of other things. Keeping your emails short and sweet – without the hedgewords – you can bet on getting a response.

It will also come in handy when asking a superior to do something.

You can’t be outright with someone when they have more power than you at work, right? Wrong. You will more likely be seen as respectful or treated as an equal when being straightforward.

Apologizing Will Kill You

Unless you did something that you are at fault for, stop apologizing. Saying “Sorry, but I disagree,” or “I’m sorry, but you didn’t finish this report,” is making you sound weak and that you aren’t a leader. It is not your fault someone didn’t finish what they were supposed it.


You do not need to apologize for having an opinion!

Getting out of these habits is difficult. I know, I am in the process of breaking this habit myself. But hedgewords are making you sink. Being confident in your abilities and speaking up for what you want and need is going to take you from the underdog to boss in no time.

For more tips on how to be confident in yourself, download our Facebook Live e-Book.

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Topics: branding, emails, lead, professional development

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