Stop Saying “That’s My Two Cents”
Last week I had a huge aha moment. I realized (with the help of my coach) that I am constantly undermining myself by giving people an out when it comes to listening to my opinion or following my advice. I wasn’t standing behind my words. I was lacking personal emotional intelligence.
What do I mean by that? I became aware of one sentence I was using way too often. This one sentence negating everything I said in just a few simple words.
That’s my two cents.
I suspect I’m not the only person who uses these four words. But what I hadn’t realized, was how damaging they can be. Yes, at the surface it seems like an everyday phrase. Yet, it basically tells the listener, I don’t stand behind my words, so feel free to ignore them.
Now I’m a pretty confident person. I have no problem speaking to a room with a few hundred people. I can defend my point of view. And I’m a great corporate trainer.
I also have great emotional intelligence when it comes to other people, but apparently not with myself.
So why do I feel the need to say – that’s my two cents – in certain situations?
Working with my coach, I discovered I use this phrase when dealing with difficult or aggressive people. Or in situations where I’m frustrated (you know, when you want to throw your hands up and walk away).
Her challenge to me. Remove this sentence from my vocabulary. The next time I give my opinion, do just that. Give my opinion. And don’t give anyone an out.
Mere days after getting this insight, I received a group email related to an organization I was volunteering with. A staff member wanted to send out a press release, making it three press releases in one week (which is just bad practice).
After mumbling under my breath, I wrote an email explaining why this was a bad idea, how we had created a content plan to avoid becoming noise, and why, this non time sensitive press release should wait until the following week.
And then, I wrote – but that’s just my two cents.
With my coach’s words in my ear, I quickly deleted that sentence. I sent the email giving my professional advice – with no out.
Guess what happened? Everyone agreed with my advice (and thanked me). No conflict. No issues.
Proud of myself. I continued giving my opinion, without saying – take it or leave it, that’s my two cents or any other negating comments.
I saw a trend. For the most part my advice was followed and I felt better about stating my opinion without giving an out.
As I’ve shared this story with friends, I’ve found the majority of my female friends do the same. But, surprisingly, not my male friends. I suspect this is because most men don’t think twice about how they could be viewed when they give their opinion. While women are afraid they will be seen as bossy.
I challenged my friends to stop using this phrase. And they too saw amazing results when they tuned into their personal emotional intelligence.
I extend this challenge to you.
Ask yourself – do you give your opinion with confidence or do you give people an out? If you use the phrases – that’s my two cents or take it or leave it, see what it’s like when you remove these words from your vocabulary. Tune in to your own personal emotional intelligence. I promise, you will see instant results.
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4 comments on “Stop Saying “That’s My Two Cents””
Oh, Cynthia! I use that phrase ALL the time, but I seem to always add the word “just”….
“That’s JUST my two cents…”
Using those words immediately diminishes the impact of what I’ve said. But as your excellent PR advice example demonstrated, your advice WAS solid and savvy. In fact, you’re likely the only person in that group distribution list who knew why that advice was required.
Deleting those diminishing words may seem like a small change, but it’s not. Thanks for the important reminder!
There’s nothing wrong with the words, they are just not meant to be used on every occasion.
“That’s my two cents” is supposed to be used when your opinion is not asked for wanted and it undermines your opinion to avoid unwanted conflict for something that you do not really care.
In business or in any occasion where your opinion does matter, you shouldn’t used it.
As for “Take it or leave it”, it shows that you are not inclined to negotiate. You must be in the position of power and you should really have to not care at all for the opinion of the other person or how this will affect your relationship them.
I’m a spaniard that was looking for what meant “my two cents”. I liked the article a lot
In Spain we say “es mi humilde opinion” (it’s my humble opinion). It’s more direct and literal, though “my two cents” es funnier and playful to me
I find it to be a more annoying comment, because often when it is used to me, I never asked for their advice to begin with.