Similarly, when you say, “I just wanted to point out that our project is well under way,” the first part of the statement hedges the rest of the sentence that comes after it, which is actually positive. It’s as though you really did have something to say, then thought better of it, but finally decided–hesitantly–to put it out there anyway. You’ve just created confusion, rather than announcing clearly and confidently that your project is going just fine.
How many times have you been in a meeting and heard a colleague say, “I thought I should mention that . . . ” or, “I was thinking we should . . . “? It sounds like the person talking no longer quite believes in whatever idea they’re putting forward. Compare those past tense expressions to phrases like “I want to mention . . .” and “I think we should . . .” and the difference is clear.
Many qualifiers like these have a similar effect. An employee tells a supervisor, “The project is largely complete”–instead of actually saying when it will be done or why it’s not quite there yet. An IT manager says to an internal client, “It’s basically a software problem, but possibly we can fix it pretty soon ourselves.” Is this good news or bad news? Who knows! None of these phrases instill much confidence that the speaker has a handle on the situation.