Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.


That’s the word for the fillers and qualifiers we inject into our speech and writing.

Don’t get me wrong: hedges can be useful - for clarity, for avoiding arrogance or softening a harsh message. But too often they add no value or undermine our message and our authority. 

See what you think of my selection.

Good hedges

'At this stage...' (Suggesting that things may change)

'I'm sorry to say that ..' and  'Unfortunately...' (Expressing empathy)

'Approximately' and  'about' (May be necessary for clarity)

 Hedges to avoid

'I think...' (Just say it.)

'You know what I mean?' (Yes,of course we do!')

'If that makes sense...' (Of course it does and until now we wouldn't have thought that you would say things that didn't make sense.)

'I would like to apologise for...' (Okay in speech, but in writing, just apologise.) 

'Pretty' as in pretty dangerous, pretty expensive

'Rather' as in rather unique, rather quick

'Well, that's my opinion anyway.' (It's like saying, 'other people are bound to disagree, so don't take me too seriously'.)  

Okay - if we use them appropriately

Keep asking yourself, 'Do I really need this qualifier, or is it just undermining my message?'.







To some extent






About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

Professional Speakers Australia has awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP. He has since been made a life member of Professional Speakers New Zealand.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

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