Good leaders spend a fair amount of time refining their communication style. After all, good communication skills are not only among the most in-demand soft skills; they’re also essential for fostering strong relationships with team members, being a more effective negotiator, and being able to motivate people.
So, the words you use matter. And simple verbal habits or tics can actually get in the way of clear communication. But some of the things we say can improve how we are perceived as well. Saying “sorry” too much and for the wrong reasons might undermine how confident you appear. Shifting your response from “sorry for the delay” to “thanks for your patience” strikes a more positive tone, too.
Another example that we’ve covered before at Fast Company is the word “but,” which can seem like you’re negating the point of the person with whom you’re speaking. Instead, try substituting “and,” which invites further conversation.