Speaking with confidence is a great way to portray yourself better at work. You know that you need to keep your shoulders back, your head up, and your eyes on the person you’re speaking to. In order to put your best foot forward, however, there are several key phrases you should practice until you’re able to speak them clearly and confidently at need.
1. “No.” You don’t have to take on every responsibility that comes your way at work. In many cases, people might try to get you to do things that aren’t in your job description–or worse, to give someone else credit for the work you’ve done. Make sure that you’re comfortable and confident saying no so that when you do say yes, it’s well thought-out and reasoned, rather than being your knee-jerk reaction to anything that’s asked of you at work. Keep in mind that you don’t have to qualify your no, nor should you include complaints (“I don’t get paid enough for this,” or “That’s not my problem,” for example). Instead, be clear and confident about your refusal.
2. “Yes, that’s what I just said.” Or, “Yes, that was my idea.” Make sure you’re taking credit for your work, rather than handing it over to your male coworkers! Sometimes, they may find themselves talking over the top of you. In other cases, you may find them presenting your ideas as their own. Don’t miss out on opportunities or recognition that should be yours! Instead, confidently acknowledge your importance and let both your coworkers and your boss know that you’re the girl for the job.
3. “I wasn’t quite finished.” Many people–men and women alike–will charge ahead in conversations, putting their own ideas forward even when it means talking over the top of you. When that happens, you have a couple of options: you can continue talking (and remember that they’re the ones being rude and talking over you, not the other way around), or you can wait for them to take a breath, then remind them that you weren’t yet finished with what you had to say. When you can say this with confidence–ideally while addressing the interrupting individual by name–you can finish what you had to say without making yourself look like the bad guy.
You’ll notice that none of the phrases listed here start with, “I’m sorry.” You don’t have to apologize for wanting to be taken seriously, nor do you have to say, “Excuse me,” every time you’re interrupted. Remember to speak with confidence! Over time, you’ll discover that your coworkers offer you more respect as a result.