Originally posted on BA Times in August 2012.
As the president of B2T Training I ask people inside and out of my company for thoughts and advice. I also scan the comments on blog posts and LinkedIn groups looking for good take-aways and lessons. What I have noticed over time is that there is a little five word phrase that makes me discount someone’s advice or comments. The phrase…“that’s just my two cents”. For example, someone will write an email giving me feedback or advice that I have asked for and they sign off the message with “that’s just my two cents”. I view this as “that’s just my view point…take it or leave it” or “that’s just what I have to say and I’m not sure it really matters”. It leaves me feeling there is a lack of conviction and confidence in that person’s voice.
I have a strong feeling of why people do this. In emails and social media services that phrase softens up the message. Social media has unleashed a nastiness in people you would rarely, if ever, see in a face to face conversation. So I think people want you to know that they are on your side, giving suggestions, and not being rude. This approach backfires.As a professional, confidence and conviction are keys to your success. When working with your team and suggesting an approach to use, you need to have confidence and conviction in your suggestion. If you have confidence, your team and business stakeholders will have confidence in your choice and go along with it. If you say, “I think it would be a good idea to draw this diagram to help us understand the real problem…that’s just my two cents”. What do you think the team will think? Mostly likely they will not have confidence you know what to do therefore not buy in to or even take the suggestion.The same applies when you disagree with someone. You can be confident in your response without being rude. Give facts on why you feel your approach may be better without slamming someone else’s. Don’t soften your response by adding “that’s just my two cents”.
All the best,