Eliminate these 5 words/phrases from your speech to be taken seriously.

I’m from a country where everything is “-tje”. Biertje, schooltje, dingetje. This popular extension of Dutch words means little. Therefore, that the words above mean: little beer, little school and little thing. Except for they don’t. When your friend invites you to go out for a biertje, this certainly doesn’t mean that he wants to have shot-sized beers with you. Most of the time, -tje is simply used to make something sound less harsh. However, what it really does in many cases is undermine the speaker. This is why so many Dutch people are campaigning to ban the word “bedrijfje” (little company) from everyone’s vocabulary. Saying that you have a bedrijfje, feels like you’re not taking your business seriously. And although the English language does not have similar, obstinate word extension, there are many speech patterns that have the same effect. So, here are 5 things you should stop saying if you want to be taken seriously.

  1. Like

A few months ago I joined a tourist tour in my own city, Amsterdam. Also joining this tour was a young American girl. Valey girl inflection and all I had such a hard time following her. Mainly because every second word in her sentences was like. “Like, it was like so I was like. Really? Like what was that like?” People are not supposed to talk like that. I know, it’s all very hip and trendy but it’s just terribly difficult to take someone who speaks like that seriously.

Whenever you use the word like you’re actually saying that you’re not willing to commit to what comes after it. “It’s like a really nice website.” No! It’s a really nice website, period.

In case it really is “like” something and not exactly it, try playing around with words such as (see how I avoided like here): similar to.

  1. Kind of / sort of

These two words are basically the same as like. There’s not used as frequently and not as out of context as like is but still, avoid them! Commit to what you’re saying!

  1. Just

This is a very apologetic word. “I just want to say.” You’re saying that you’re sorry you are speaking up, sorry you’re taking up the audience’s time and that what you’re saying isn’t nearly as important as all the other things your audience could be doing with their time. Stop it!

  1. Disqualifying yourself

“I am really nervous.” “I’m not good at this.” “I’m no expert but…”

With sentences like these, the audience will start looking for proof that what you’re saying is true. So if the first thing after saying this comes out as a stammer they have their proof and enough reason to stop listening. If you don’t say this and you stammer, it was just a stammer. Which we all do from time to time. Never give them a reason to look for your faults in this way. Never!

  1. Telling them you’re not worth their time

“I’ll only be up here a minute.” “I won’t bother you for too long.” “I quickly want to say.”

You’re worth listening to. Make that clear. You’re not up there wasting their time, you’re providing your audience with valuable insights. If not, work on becoming a better storyteller rather than excusing yourself for everything you say.


Most of these words have found their way into our subconscious speech patterns which makes it difficult to get rid of. First of all, make sure that they are not in the written version of your speech. Know your speech inside out, this will definitely help. Secondly, practice pausing rather than using filler words. Pausing is awesome! It gives you time to gather your thoughts while looking really intelligent. The audience will feel like you’re building tension.

Asking a friend to help you eliminate these words from your everyday speech will also be very helpful. Because like most things: what helps you become a better speaker on stage, will help you in daily life too.

Remote work.90

Remote work

There is this wonderful trend going of people realising there is more than one way to organise their work and private life. The people who follow this trend do not want to go to the same office to work with the same people on the same things every day, week after week, month after month and year after year. Neither do they want to go home to the same house in the same neighbourhood in the same country every day. These people are addicted to the unknown and allergic to the conventional. These people are called digital nomads and they work remotely or location independently. I am one of these people.

Rooftop office, Medellin

The world is an incredible place. And thanks to our growing globalisation most of this world is readily accessible to us. For a few hundred euros we can fly to the other side of the world within a day’s time. Digital nomads have made it into an art to take advantage of this possibility. We have designed our businesses in such a way that all we require of a place is a steady internet connection. True, this can be a struggle sometimes but thanks to our active online community we know exactly what we can expect from each corner of the earth.

There are numerous different options when it comes to remote work. Many of my travelling colleagues work in web development, copywriting, graphic design or online marketing. In this sense I am somewhat the odd one out. I am a storyteller, consultant, trainer and speaker. I offer online courses and work with people one-on-one. And whoever said that couldn’t be done online, I’d like to prove you wrong.

So what does my life look like? I work Monday to Friday and a little more often than not on Saturdays and Sundays too, just like any entrepreneur. The thing that makes me different is that I do it from wherever I darn well please. Currently, that seems to be Medellin, Colombia. What sets me apart from a normal backpacker? I do not have the time and energy to move from place to place every few days but I do have all the time in the world to stay somewhere a little longer because my funds are not running out. I like to stay in one place for a month or longer. This gives me the opportunity to explore the place in my free time, find my favourite cafe or co-working space to work from and build more sustainable relationships on the way.


Guatapé, Colombia

So no, I’m not just on holiday and I’m not going to cancel on our appointment because I feel like surfing. My company and my clients are my number one priority, as it should be. I just really don’t want to know what my view will be in a week, a month or a year from now.

Do you want to get inspired by the nomad lifestyle and even find out how you can become one? Check out the Digital Nomad Network Facebook page.