We are often unaware of the expressions we use at work, even when the situation requires us to stay professional and confident in a debate or a discussion. The words we say influence how others we work with judge our personality and expertise and so it’s worth paying attention to our communication with them. Here are a few phrases you should eliminate from your dialogue.
It’s not my fault!
You have been in business long enough to know that there is always something that goes wrong. It will be very tempting to blame it on somebody else or the circumstances in the heat of the moment because your instinct tells you that it will make you look better at that certain situation.
But the truth is: It won’t. Finding the one to blame should never be a focus of a professional discussion. Instead, you should take responsibility for your part and turn the discussion towards solving the problem. Probably the hardest words in the English dictionary are I apologize, but if you can say it without shame you will earn respect and find a good solution much faster. The more determined you seem to clean up the mess the more people will trust you in the future.
I don’t have time for this.
I get it, you are busy and you are pressed for time. It makes you anxious and impatient. But you know, we are all busy and telling how much you have on your plate is not going to convince anyone.
It is not about time but rather about priorities so if you are aware of your freedom of choice it will be much easier for you to decide between yes and no to respond to the person who tries to block time on your calendar. If you want to hear their new ideas but your schedule is full then tell them they have five minutes to convince you or an option to come back next week. If you need to choose between a potential new client and missing an important family dinner again just remember: it’s always a choice you make based on your priorities. Let go of the rest and don’t let time put a pressure on you.
I don’t know/I’m not sure…
Sometimes, you get an unexpected question from a coworker or a client and you suddenly cannot think of anything to respond: that’s when these words might slip out of your mouth and the moment you see the look on their faces across the table you know you shouldn’t have said that.
Saying I don’t know makes you look like you give up or you don’t care enough about your business and it will turn people away. Even if you cannot come up with a perfect answer just tell them you will figure it out, you will let them know by tomorrow or anything that suggests that you will do everything as soon as possible to clear their doubts. If it’s a negotiation with someone who deliberately intends to put you into an uncomfortable situation you can respond with another question or make their question seem unrelated, just don’t wave the white flag with an uncertain response!
I am so tired/hungover/sick.
Complaining in a work environment just spreads negativity and will make you seem like the weak-link. If you really feel unwell you always have a choice to take a day off or work from home but once you enter the office you should give your best even if you slept two hours the night before.
It is essential to take responsibility for all your actions inside and outside of the workplace and to keep all areas in your life under control. Complaining doesn’t fit into professionalism.
Even if it is just a figure of speech, if you beg people to trust you or believe your words it will have the opposite effect. If you show integrity with your everyday efforts and you articulate your statements with unshakable confidence then people will believe you. It’s that simple.
If you notice that people look unsure or puzzled around you, it is better to ask them about their doubts and respond to each one of them with candor. Transparency will bring trust and if you stay true to yourself and your point of view they will believe you without convincing.