Are weak words ruining your reputation?

Right, you dirty maggots—this is a lesson on how to toughen your words up.

Put on your gym shorts, tie your bandana and follow me.

The workplace is filled with losery, weak words, littering emails and sending subconscious messages about your character and ability.

Although you intended to tell someone what your strategy was, what you really did was ask their permission, hide behind non-committal opinions and tentatively present your ideas as though you suspect they aren’t any good.

Well no more.

I’m going to teach you how to find those words and root them out like the liability they are.

Spotting weak words

How do you know a weak word when you spot it? They’re hardly going to be found trembling behind a more robust word, hoping you won’t catch them.

The first step is to run you eye over your copy again and this time look for any words that get in the way of your message. Words like ‘really’, ‘very’, ‘just’.

They aren’t adding anything to the sentence. They’re getting in the way and you know it.

Maybe you’re the kind of person that favours the bigger weak words, like ‘possibly’ and ‘wondering’?

There is no place for these words in workplace comms and adding them in to soften your image will only serve to damage your credibility (there, I said it).

For example…

Here’s an example of copy that is—quite frankly—acting like a little bitch:

Good Morning Sarah,

I hope you’re well. I’d really like to book some time out with you this afternoon to possibly take a look at the mood board I sent on Monday.

I think I managed to capture the tone you wanted, and there were a couple of ideas that I really liked.

I hope to hear from you soon,


Put on your ‘weak word’ spectacles and give that a once over.

Kayleigh sent over a damn good mood board, I just know it. Why is she tentatively suggesting that only a ‘couple’ of the ideas were good? She knows she nailed it, so why is she saying she only ‘thinks’ she did? Although she’s requesting a meeting, she’s asking as though she doesn’t have a right to. Not on my watch, Kayleigh.

Here’s a re-write to show you what I mean:


Good morning Sarah,

I hope you’re well.

I’m emailing to touch base regarding the mood board I sent on Monday—I felt it was a strong representation of what you wanted and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’m free all day tomorrow, so let me know what works for you.


Smashed it.

There are other ways to weed weakness out of your copy. Aside from hiring an expert like myself, you can download the Hemingway app, which will also show you where all the unnecessaries are hiding.

Arm yourself with weak word knowledge and stop your puny emails from ruining your rep. You’re better than that, dude.

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