Career Advice

3 Reasons you ‘sort of, maybe’ shouldn’t use Tentative Language

Shannon Barlow Posted by Shannon
min read
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In sales, your confidence in your product or service needs to shine through but if you are using hesitant language in your sales pitch, you are working against yourself.  I am talking about the ‘sort ofs’ and ‘maybes’ and ‘kind ofs’ that weasel their way into speech, undermining the message.  Here are some examples from the recruitment world, but they can pop up in any industry.


“I’ve sort of got this great candidate who would add value to your team”

1. It makes you sound unsure
So do you actually have the candidate or are you not sure that she would be great?  Think of the synonyms for sort of: slightly, faintly, remotely, and vaguely.  Saying 'sort of' undercuts the value of your statement. 


“I’d love to meet with you and maybe tell you about our services”

2. It makes you sound untrustworthy
Are you going to make your pitch or not?  You need to be clear about your intentions and be transparent about what is going to happen.  Adding ‘maybe’ leaves your listener in the dark and unsure of what you are going to do; or worse, makes them think you are hiding something.


“Come in for an interview and we can kind of talk about your experience and job prospects”

3. It makes you sound stupid
So does that mean we will talk, but you won’t be listening?  As well as weakening your impact, tentative language changes the meaning of your sentence, sometimes to the extent that it doesn’t actually make sense anymore.

Have you noticed you or your team using tentative language like that?  They may seem like harmless fillers but unless you are aiming to appear unsure of yourself, untrustworthy and stupid, you should rip them out of your vocabulary like weeds!