hedging hedge

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Bri Williams

How hedging can make you more persuasive and benefit your business

Bri Williams
3 minute Read

Do you find yourself using hedging language like something is “probably” the best option, or that a solution “might” work? Well, those hedges can impact how persuasive you are, and not necessarily in a bad way.

Contrary to what we might assume (see how I hedged just now?), new research reveals it’s the type of hedge, rather than whether we hedge, that can damage persuasion. Why? Because hedges affect perceptions of how confident you are.

Two dimensions of hedges

What are hedges? Words or phrases that express ambiguity, caution, or indecisiveness about a statement (Lakoff 1973). Expressions like “I think”, “it might”, “seems to be”, “probably”, “may” and “arguably”.

It’s difficult to avoid hedging because we are rarely able to provide certainty about a product, service, or investment’s outcome. Plus the lawyers wouldn’t let us!

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