Why You Should Stop Saying ‘I Think”
“I think…” a simple phrase, but it pack a nasty punch. The phrase lacks confidence, lacks facts, lacks ownership, and lacks intellect. It shows your don’t trust what you are saying. It shows you have don’t have any facts and haven’t done any research to backup your statement. It shows that you don’t want to take possession of your statements.
‘I think’ and ‘I feel’ come up far too often in client meetings, debates, and discussions. We’ll all been in those meeting where multiple people are debating how they feel or what they think without any facts or ownership.
Here why the staying are two of my least favorite phrases and why you should watch out for them:
I Think Lacks confidence
If you went to your local butcher and asked “Which is the better cut of steak the ribeye or the t-bone,” and she responded “I think the ribeye is better” what would you think? Would you trust her?
Often people use I think to soften their criticism or to make sure others don’t feel bad. However, when people are coming to you for advice they want a strong confident answer.
I Think Lacks Facts
‘I think’ suggests uncertainty. It assumes you are guessing and don’t have facts to back up your statement, when infact you might.
When discussing target markets I often hear ‘I feel college students…,” which begs the question how do you know? There is nothing wrong with a having a hypothesis, however it should be presented as such.
I Think Lacks Ownership
When you say ‘I think’ it shows you’re not willing to take ownership of what you are saying. It provides you a loophole out later of if.
“I don’t think Instagram is a good medium for this campaign” If Instagram ends up working well you can easily get out of originally recommendation by saying “I wasn’t sure.” If you are willing to make recommendations and fight for something you should be willing to stand behind it.
I Think Lacks Intellect
‘I think’ is irrefutable, your feelings which can’t be proved wrong. It’s a cop-out. It shows that you are not willing to accept debate and that you are close minded. ‘I think’ hides your rationale from being scrutinized.
‘I think’ implies it’s your way or the highway; it’s selfish. It suggest that you are unwilling to accept others viewpoints. “I think blue would be a better choice” no one can debate you. It’s a closed door.
Choose your words carefully, it’s easy to send the wrong message without even knowing it.
Here are some phrases to try instead:
- Simply eliminating the phrase
- “Based off the surveying findings I recommend…”
- “My assumption is…”
- “I believe this because…”
When you say ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’ is shows a lack of confidence, facts, ownership, and intellect. Instead focus on what you truly are trying to communicate.