If You Want to be Trusted, Stop Saying This Word at Once

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

I have watched more salespeople and companies pitch their ideas over the years than I care to count. And during thousands of interviews with consumers about how they use different products and services and respond to marketing messages, I have honed the craft of ferreting out telltale signs of lies and omissions.

From that experience, I am going to let you in on a little secret about a word you should stop using immediately.

It is “actually.”

For the experienced listener, “actually” is a dead giveaway of an area that at the least needs to be further investigated, and may point at a deception.

Let me explain. When you use the word “actually” properly, you are comparing two thoughts and providing clarification.

For example:

Question: “Did you go to the store for milk?”
Answer: “Actually, I stopped at a gas station.”

In this example, it is easy to see why someone might use the word . The original question suggested that you went to the store, but you might not think that a gas station is really a store. In your mind, you are comparing and justifying the decision to stop at a gas station rather than a grocery store.

Back to the business setting: Extra words used in a sales presentation or investor pitch are unnecessary. They subconsciously point listeners to question if there’s more unspoken information. The word “actually” serves as a spoken pause, giving the presenter’s brain time to catch up and decide how to resolve the conflict in their mind between the question asked and reality.

A common example of how this plays out in a sales presentation or investor pitch:

Question: “How many customers are using the platform?”
Answer: “We actually have over 100 companies.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: TIME / Inc.

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