Menz Magazine

4 Bad Habits That Kill Your Style

Using Crutch Words

I admit – I’m guilty of this sometimes. You’ve probably caught me slipping in a few um’s or uh’s while talking in my videos. It’s still a work in progress, but at least I’m more conscious of it.

The use of crutch words isn’t terrible per se, but it can be quite annoying to whoever’s listening. Why? Because those words just stall the dialogue. They show that you’re unprepared and don’t know what to say next, which is detrimental whether you’re doing a presentation in the office or describing yourself on a date.

It’s the following words that you really want to avoid. DON’T let them become unconscious verbal tics!

  • Uh/Um
  • You know
  • Sorta
  • Basically
  • Actually (often sounds like a correction)
  • Well (use sparingly)
  • Even if you’re sure of what you’re going to say after such words – or you’re trying to put emphasis on what’s to follow – crutch words do NOT add meaning to a statement. They’re better left unsaid. Instead, prepare your thoughts ahead of time or during brief moments of silence (e.g. while the other person is eating their food). Slow down while talking to make it clear what you’re trying to say.

And if you’re tasked with a speech or presentation – stuff I deal with regularly while running my YouTube channel – it’s very helpful to record yourself doing a rehearsal. That way, you’ll get to detect crutch words, write better notes, practice more, and eliminate those words once it’s showtime.

Poor Oral Hygiene

A lot of men don’t even think about whether they practice good oral hygiene. But they should. Why? Because you don’t get through a single day without people seeing your teeth. Wouldn’t you hate to turn them off with bits of food in them or foul breath? Here are some basics of good oral hygiene to prevent that from happening.

  1. Don’t wait longer than 12 hours after a meal to brush, especially if it was a high-sugar meal. That leads to plaque.
  2. Wash and rinse your toothbrush after brushing and leave it where it’ll dry quickly so bacteria can’t accumulate.
  3. Use proper brushing technique. Brush with circular motions – NOT back and forth as that can damage your gums. And brush for a full two minutes. That matters too, and a timer will help.
  4. Floss at least once a day. It also helps to floss after lunch using a floss pick. And use a mirror. You don’t want to return to the office with spinach in your teeth, do you?
  5. Visit a dentist every six months to have your teeth cleaned and polished. If necessary, get your sealants checked too. (If you don’t already have sealants placed in, arrange for that soon.) This stuff becomes more important as you get older.
  6. Finally, change your toothbrush every three months. The main reason for this is the bristles start to really bend or decay after using a brush much longer than that. But I do understand how that can be a hassle for some people. That’s why I think it’s worth investing in a smart electric toothbrush.

One brand I highly recommend is Brio. What’s great thing about these battery-powered toothbrushes is they do 31,000 brushing strokes per minute! Can you believe that? The brush does the hard work efficiently while you just move it along your teeth. And the bristles are incredibly strong yet gentle on your gums at the same time.

Not Introducing Yourself To People

Any time you’re at a social event or business function, first impressions are on the line, and they can make or break your career. Stop relying on others to approach you and introduce themselves.

The choice is yours, gents. You either nail a first impression or spend a LONG time climbing out of a deep hole that you’ve dug by making a bad one. Who’d want the latter? Spare yourself that needless trouble. Man up and make the first move.

Several factors come into play here. First, you need the confidence to reach out and initiate conversations. Look the person in the eye, smile, offer your name, stick out your hand, and do a handshake that doesn’t crack their bones. (Take note: proper handshakes vary widely, depending on the culture. Do your research.)

When they mention their name, be courteous enough to say and repeat it a few times while you talk (this will also help you remember it). Nod a few times as well to show that you’re actively listening. Look for things you share in common, and eventually introduce them to your friends or other people you know in the room. This breaks the ice, and nobody will feel out of place. You’ll be remembered for that, and rewarded.

Biting Your Fingernails

It’s probably not as extreme as sucking your thumb, but let’s not kid ourselves. This is a disgusting habit. Fingernails are part of your hands – and hands are usually the first body part to make contact with germs.

If this is one of your more stubborn habits, I’m not judging you. But let’s serious about kicking it. My advice: always keep your nails short so there’s less to bite on. If that’s not enough, I’d also recommend:

  • A. A regular manicure.
  • B. Bitter-tasting nail polish (always gives you a quick reminder of what you don’t realize you’re doing).
  • C. Identifying the triggers and having another response ready. Instead of biting your nails, suck on a mint or hold onto your phone or a pen.

Old habits die hard, gentlemen. They can be hard to kick. But if you really care about your style, and you don’t want to waste all that time and effort you spent building a great career and reputation – you should have the motivation to overcome those bad habits.

It’s about willpower and setting yourself up for success! Take it one day at a time. Be consistent. Always bear in mind the bigger picture of what’s at stake. And I have no doubt the changes will come.

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