Our word choices in interviews, speeches, presentations, and even casual conversations, say more about us than most people may realize. Many people undermine themselves without even knowing it.

Have you ever heard the owner of a small business say, “We’re just a small…” or an entrepreneur say, “I’m just a…”? The words “just a” immediately diminish their accomplishments.

I often hear stay-at-home mothers undermine themselves similarly, saying, “I’m just a mom.” This minimizes the importance of what they do. Instead they could say, “I’m a full-time mother,” and leave it at that. Or, they could say, “I’m taking time to focus on my family full-time right now,” which may feel more comfortable for women who plan to return to the workforce.

Other ways that people may undermine themselves is to talk about their perceived limitations as business people. People say things like, “I’m so disorganized,” or “I’m a mess,” or “I’m overwhelmed.” All of these statements make one appear out of control, incompetent and/or not very reliable.

Undermining statements like the ones above are a form of negative self-talk. In addition to diminishing your accomplishments, negative self-talk can take the form of putting yourself down or not accepting compliments.

Remember that everything you say to others, you are reinforcing in your own mind. Your brain cannot help but to hear those self-deprecating words and, more than likely, you will internalize them. Don’t say anything about yourself that you don’t want to be true.

Eliminating negative self-talk is important for anyone. It is not productive, it is disempowering, and it reinforces beliefs you don’t want to hold about yourself.

Get used to confidently stating what you do without diminishing or minimizing yourself or your accomplishments in any way.

If you’d like to become a more powerful communicator and make more conscious word choices, my Confident and Clear Communication program provides lessons in audio recordings you can listen to anywhere, anytime, as well as PDFs you can download or read online.


Lisa Elia, Founder & Lead Media Trainer & Presentation Trainer at Expert Media Training®This post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach, communication expert, and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, internal and external presentations, investor presentations, and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E!, and many others.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

To arrange a free consultation, call us at 310-479-0217. Or, you can email us at [email protected]

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