Do you know what I mean?
I’ve written previously about some language that I’m actively trying to change in my day-to-day dealings with people, I write these blog posts because they hold me public accountable to my peers, friends, and family. My previous posts were:
Shrugging. Source: Wikimedia Commons
Today, I want to highlight some of the other phrases I’ll be trying to actively avoid in my day-to-day speech. These are:
“Do you know what I mean?”
I’ve got a habit of immediately using this phrase after I’ve explained something. The problem is that I use this phrase when I know that I haven’t explained something properly. Out of fear I place the onus of understanding on the receiver instead of honestly recognising that it is my responsibility to ensure understanding.
Instead of saying “do you know what I mean”. What I will start doing is to be honest in conversations and make clear that I’m struggling to explain a theory or concept and to ask people to be patient with me. I will also try to replace it with phrases such as “Have I explained myself properly?”, “Do you need any more information from me?”, and “Please tell me if I didn’t make sense”. These phrases assume that it is my responsibility to explain concepts. People aren’t mind readers after all!
After I have given my opinion on certain matters, I often follow it up with a question “yeah?”. The problem with using this phrase is that I am blinded to the fact that my opinion could be wrong. By using this phrase, I’ve basically asked for a validation or a rejection of my opinion. A lot of the time though, the world isn’t so black and white and I should be more open to divergent opinions from others.
Instead of saying “yeah?”, what I’ll try to do is either pause and wait for the other people to respond or ask “what do you think?”. That way, I’ve opened up the conversation to others instead of giving them binary options of agreeing or disagreeing.
Both the phrases above have a common theme. That is, me not having the humility to recognise that I could be completely wrong about something and rushing to conclusions without regarding others. Whilst I will be focusing on my speech, it is not so much the phrases, but rather my approach that I’m looking to change and I hope that this will be externalised in my speech.
Thanks for reading.