Published on December 5, 2013
12 words and phrases to avoid in a Professional environment Sanvels Consulting Services I Pvt. Ltd.
12 Career-Killer Comments Communication is key to career success. So it’s crucial to be aware of our language and word choice. The words we choose and the context in which use them can make or break us, whether we are on staff at a company or self-employed. Here are 12 words and phrases to avoid. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
1. But………… • Use this word and it’s as if you deleted everything that came before it. Tell someone, “You’re doing a great job, but. . .” and what you mean is that what they’ve done still isn’t good enough. Using the word “but” to connect the good message with a not-goodenough message is negative and ineffective. Instead, put a period on the good job sentence, or change the “but” to “and.” Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
2. Don’t you think…. • Starting a sentence with a negative sets a negative tone. This one is also a leading question that puts people on the spot. It’s better to ask an open-ended question, such as: “What do you think. . .?” or “Do you think. . .?” Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
3. Truthfully….. • This implies that the rest of the time you are not being truthful. Instead, say what you mean directly. It will improve your credibility and authenticity. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
4. Why don’t you….. • This is probably not the question you are really asking and sets the person up to tell you why not or even to feel judged. If you want to make a statement and are not asking a question at all, then say so. For instance, “I would like you to take on this project” rather than, “Why don’t you take on this project?” If you really are asking a question, rephrase it in the positive: “What do you think/feel about taking on this project?” or “How about you take on this project?” Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
5. You….. • Whenever possible, avoid starting a sentence with this word; when the sentence is a statement, it can quickly take the conversation down an accusatory or judgmental path. When it’s an open-ended question, “you” works fine. Wrong way: “You aren’t going to do that, are you?” Right way: “Are you going to do that?” Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
6. Not to be.. funny/sarcastic/critical, but. • This is a false and dangerous start. It really means you are going to be funny, sarcastic or critical, and are trying to cover it up by putting the negative word “not” in front to soften the blow. Therefore, you can’t really be trusted. The listener’s defenses will immediately go up, and most, if not all, listening stops. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
7. That’s (or you’re) ridiculous/stupid/idiotic/boring [or fill in the blank with the derogatory term of your choice]. • Whenever you begin a sentence or respond to someone with these labeling words, you will automatically be seen as judgmental, closeminded, opinionated, condescending, or inflexible. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
8. I meant to tell you… • This is a signal that you don’t really mean it, because if you did, you would have said whatever it was earlier. If you really did forget, say so and apologize for doing so. www.sanvelsinfo.com
9. Surely you jest…. • Sarcasm is a sure way to chip away at trust and credibility. These words, used together, telegraph the message that you think the person or that individual’s ideas are a joke. You won’t win friends or exert influence using this expression. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
10. I’m pissed.. • This is a show stopper. It means you are unable to manage your emotions and work through your anger in a thoughtful way. It’s important to be honest and authentic about how you feel, and it’s best to do it when you are not in the heat of the moment. www.sanvelsinfo.com
11. Who do you think you are? • This is condescending and patronizing. It sends a signal that the person is talking or acting inappropriately for the situation at hand. No one takes those words lightly, whether they come from a boss, peer, or parent. Instead, the question should be, “What/why are you saying/doing?” Then listen for the answer – it may surprise you. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
12. Always/Never. • Try not to use global generalizations and absolutes; there are exceptions to most things most of the time. You lose credibility when using absolutes too often, in the wrong places and for the wrong reasons. If the truth is always or never, explain why, rather than let the word hang there as if you know it all. Click www.sanvelsinfo.com
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