Are you "over-qualified"?

I recently heard a ten-minute presentation from a leading professional in their field regarding academic policies - a straightforward and fact-based topic.  The presenter was without question the expert in the room.  

Unfortunately, the speaker eroded their qualifications and authority from the outset - sentence by sentence - through the use of qualifiers.  In the course of the short presentation, more than 30 qualifiers (an average of one every 20 seconds) were used.  I'm sure you'll recognize them - 

"A little bit" - five times
"I think" - four times 
"Just" - three times
"Kind of" - three times
"Trying to" - three times
"Some" - Twice
"Maybe" - Twice
"At times"
"A few" 
"A couple"
"Pretty good"
"As possible"

And there were some compound-qualifiers such as "probably a little bit" and "maybe a little bit" for good measure.  

The use of qualifiers has become pervasive and exhausting.  Politicians and talking heads are notorious for it.  Sports commentators, especially former players and coaches, love wiggle words as they attempt to sound critical and strong to their audience while leaving themselves wiggle-room with their former competitive and professional peers.  Unfortunately, many AD's and coaches have adopted the trend.  It's particularly glaring when reading a quote in print.  

We've become reluctant to take a stand - fearing the social media mob that's ready to fire up their outrage machines and play gotcha.  Which is followed by the "I should have been more thoughtful and didn't mean to offend anyone" faux apology/retraction.  

Leaders talk about culture, core values, leadership, transparency and doing things the right way.  You're not required to answer a question, speak or provide commentary on any and every topic.  If you choose to do so, it's refreshing to hear someone authentically and genuinely (two popular cliche words) voice those views, rather than kind of wanting to hedge in a way that sort of, sometimes, is just pretty good and suggests they might actually have a partial opinion.  

Take a stance and own your views.  The ensuing debate is how we all get better.