Yes. I said it. Stop “helping.” It may be holding back your career advancement, sabotaging your executive presence, or keeping you from getting the credit you deserve.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you not be a team player, or that you not step in or step up when needed, or even that you don’t lend your time and talents to projects or initiatives that are outside of your standard scope.The problem lies with the word “help.
Words matter. The words we choose play a significant role in how we are perceived by others. When we choose to use the word “help,” we are choosing a word that is less powerful than the alternatives. Additionally, when we offer to “help” we run the risk of positioning ourselves as “less” or not as important as key players or stakeholders.
Imagine the perceptual difference these small changes would make:
- Change “I can help with that” to “I can fix that.”
- Change “I’m happy to help” to “I’d like to be on the team.”
- Change “I helped with that project” to “I worked on that project.”
These small changes can make a big difference in how others view you and your contributions. By eliminating “help” and choosing more impactful phrasing, you can boost your credibility, impact and influence.
- Or, imagine the difference these changes could make.Change “I need your help” to ” I could use your insight.”
- Change “can you help me with this?” to “I could use your support.”
If you are a leader, making these changes can help those you lead feel valued and appreciated. If you are communicating peer to peer, these changes can help your peers feel like valuable partners, even if you are taking the lead on a particular project or task.
Small changes in how we communicate often yield big differences. Eliminate the word “help” and start communicate with confidence, credibility, and influence.
Pamela Jett, CSP is a leadership and communication expert based in Phoenix, AZ. Delivered with energy, humor, and a dash of neuroscience, her latest keynote presentations, TheRelentlessly Positive Leader and The Relentlessly Positive Communicator, provide audiences of all types new, evidence-based tools to overcome adversity and challenge . Find out more at PamelaJett.com.