Seven Things Never to Say at Work: Communication Skills

Words matter! At work, the words you use are like your calling card; communication is as much a part of your reputation as is your performance.

Stay sharp with the seven things you should never say at work.

CommunicationWhat you say—and how you say it—matters in both your business and personal lives. No matter how “causal” your workplace might be, communication is how things get done.

Some phrases might be acceptable at home, but they could make you seem incompetent and unprofessional. They should be banned from the workplace.

Seven common phrases to remove from work conversations immediately (it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to drop them at home, too):

It’s not my job…

No matter how annoying a request could be, there might be a valid reason a co-worker or supervisor asks for your help. The success of others is an essential aspect of teamwork. Communication of a lack of interest is an effective way to ruin your career.

To be honest…

Innovation in hiring/Ovation background checkDoes that mean you were not genuine before? Prefacing any comment with “to be honest,” although somewhat acceptable in everyday communication, in business means one of two things: you are about to say something negative, or everything you just said was deceitful and (perhaps) dishonest.

He (or she) is a jerk…

No communication spreads faster in an office than unpleasant feelings. Saying something negative about anyone—co-workers, bosses or the company—shows lack of professionalism. Keep the schoolyard talk for fifth graders.

I have always done it this way…

With a single phrase, you establish yourself as close-minded, stubborn and firmly stuck in the past. Others might think you are clueless as to why it is done “that way,” or that you are not capable of coming up with ways to do it better.

No problem…

Saying “no problem” is an informal expression that many substitute for “you’re welcome.” In a professional situation, saying “no problem” turns the conversation to the recipient and his or her interests, not gratitude to the giver. It is not only dismissive, but also rude.

You should have…

Everybody loves an “I told you so,” right? Saying “you should have…” is similar. It makes a recipient feel guilty (you should have told me). That sort of blame does not promote cooperation or teamwork.

That’s not fair…

The world is filled with small wrongs and injustices, and when pointing them out, you look like a complainer.  Nobody wants to work with a whiner. No matter what the situation, instead of negativity, communication of a problem should be with facts and evidence. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: Email: Twitter: @PhilAmmann

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