There have been plenty of times I have caught myself in casual conversation using words that make me question my own intellect. I find myself becoming repetitive and using placeholder words instead of taking pauses. Or I find myself using words that undermine my own questions and inquiries. What is even worse is when these words pop up in my vocabulary at work in a meeting or even an email. If women could remove these five words from their vocabulary, we would sound more educated, and others would take us seriously:

Just.

"I just wanted to see if you were done with that report" By using the word "just" you are allowing whomever you talk to the position of power in your conversation. When you include the word "just" it is as if you are requesting permission to ask your questions and you weaken your message. Try omitting "just" from your vocabulary and watch how your confidence level increases.

Um.

"Well um"" This placeholder word is just that, a placeholder and probably the hardest word to get rid of in our vocabulary. When you need a pause instead of saying um try to stay silent. You will sound smarter.

Like.

"Like" is often used in the same context as "um". Instead of taking a pause we feel the need to say "like" then end up sounding like a character in Clueless. Get rid of your "like" crutch. This will make you sound far more educated.

Literally.

The word literally is literally overused these days. Most people use "literally" to express their seriousness and the word is grossly misused. I don't think you are "literally" going to kill yourself if Zayn leaves the band. Instead of using literally try to express what you are actually trying to say.

Honestly.

If you find the need to say the word honestly the person you are talking to is going to think you're lying anyway. Instead of saying honestly, just be honest.

All of these words can be removed from your vocabulary with no replacement word. By no longer saying these words you will sound smarter and be taken seriously. The next time you find yourself uttering an "um" or telling someone you "literally can't even", pinch yourself as a reminder not to use those words.

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