All of us are tied up during their working hours, so amidst the busy atmosphere, some phrases come out prominently and effortlessly from our mouth, during communication with our Boss or client, which unintentionally leaves a very bad impression over our personality and the organization we work for.
“Words are like arrows, you can’t take them back once you let them go, so speak wisely”
Today I will list 17 things you should never say at work. Read till the last and tell us by commenting which one you realized saying at work was not appropriate.
1) “That’s not my problem” or “It’s not my job” or “I am not getting paid enough” –
We all have been there where our boss or our client assigns unrealistic tasks within a stipulated time frame to be completed.
Firstly you need to understand that if the task wasn’t important for them, they wouldn’t have asked you to do it.
When we are juggling in between a pile of tasks, we tend to say these phrases to easily dismiss the tasks which are “not your problem”.
Trust me saying above phrases will not make your situation any better, instead it will make things go even worse.
It will make you appear as self-serving person and not a team player. This limits career advancement and put a negative remark over client satisfaction. A good team player works toward the success of the team members before their own.
So instead of saying “Sorry, It’s not my problem, I am not getting paid enough for this” try saying this “I will love to help you out. Given my current to do list, tasks X, Y and Z are pending. Which one shall I keep on hold to work on the new task?”
Saying this will make your Boss/Client aware of the current workload over you and make them set realistic goals and sensible tasks for you in future.
2)”But I have always done it that way” –
General work population is scared of change. Having blessed with technological advancements in our age, one should not turn their back with innovation, creativity and out of the box thinking. Change is always an invaluable experience.
Saying these words make you appear inflexible, closed minded, and a person who is stuck in the past.
You should embrace new problem solving skills and instead of saying those words say “Wow, that’s a different approach towards solving the problem, Lets discuss why it’s better than the usual one”.
3) “It’s impossible for me” or “There’s nothing I can do” –
Sometime it really feels like there is no solution to a certain set of problem, when we exhaust all possible ways to solve it.
Saying these negative words will make you look like a pessimist with a hopeless attitude. A can do attitude will help you run a longer run in your career instead of admitting defeat easily.
One should be optimistic and try to discuss and contribute anything which might help with the situation.
Instead of those phrases say these –
“I will be glad to give another shot at it again.”
“Let’s discuss what are the current possibilities.”
“In the current situation what I can do is this …”
“I’m in a fix, can you help me find any other possibilities”
4) “This will only take a minute” or “That’s very easy for me” –
For getting clients to assign us projects we usually say that the project will only take a minute to do, or it’s very easy for you to do.
As a freelancer you need the client to value your skills and there is no value in getting things rushed.
So always say – “I will get back to you in a timeframe” or “I have the required skills to complete the task, so you can trust me to complete the task on time”.
5) “That makes no sense” –
Sometimes we jump to conclusions hastily, and ignore the other person’s perspective completely.
It marks us negatively and a closed minded person who doesn’t even try to understand.
Try this instead “I am not sure about this idea, can you please explain why you think that way?”
It will surely help to strike a healthy discussion which will benefit both the sides.
6) “You are wrong” –
If you disagree with a colleague or a client’s idea or thought, you should not directly say that “You are wrong”.
It will make you appear as a Bully, which may strike up a heated conversation.
You should try a more diplomatic approach like this “I disagree with your idea and here’s why ….”
7) “I am sorry but” –
We don’t realize but we often use the word sorry like an excuse. It lowers the influence we have on the person we say sorry too often, and hand the steering wheel over to them for dominating our path.
If you did something wrong say “I am sorry about that, next time I will make sure to complete the task on time”. Don’t try and make up an excuse which may sound fake.
Or you can entirely skip the apology part in some cases. For example you are late to a meeting you can say “Thanks for waiting.” instead of “I am sorry I was late”.
8) “I just assumed that” –
Due to lack of communication, sometimes you might just assume certain points of the work according to you and start doing the work. Most of the time you would regret later on when things would get clearer.
So the situation here would demand you to say “Can you please clarify what are your expectations from me“.
So it’s always better to express what your assumptions are from the beginning only and never start the work before you are 100% sure about the client’s expectations. Till then try to get you and your client on the same page.
9) “I did my best” –
We all try our best from the beginning, but things always don’t turn out how we expected them to be.
So instead of saying “I did my best but…” and using it as an excuse to escape from the situation, you should learn from your mistakes and say “What could I do better next time?“.
10) “You should have” or “You could have”
Pointing out mistakes when you’re furious or frustrated is the common practice which you might commit which isn’t the best approach according to me.
You yourself won’t like it if someone said: “You should have informed me earlier” or “You could have created a backup yourself”. These are finger pointing words which triggers guilt on the person you are trying to blame.
Workplace is a collaboration of teamwork and equal treatment to all the persons who are involved. So a more productive and non-judgemental approach will be to say –
“In future, I recommend ..” or “From the next time, please bring issues like this to my attention immediately, to ensure proper planning and workflow“.
11) “I may be wrong, but” or “This may be a silly idea” –
These phrases lessen the impact of what you will be saying after it. Your spoken words shows how much confident you are on yourself and how much value you place on yourself.
You words shouldn’t lessen the importance of what you are about to contribute.
Stop discouraging yourself and discuss your idea fearlessly.
For example instead of saying “This may be a silly idea, but I think that we can do an online meeting on skype to save time” start like this “Here’s an idea, let’s do a meeting online on skype to save travel cost and time“.
12) “I haven’t had time” or “I am too busy ” or “I don’t have time for this right now” –
No matter if this statement is true or not, you should always avoid saying this.
No one likes to feel less important to anyone.
To maintain healthy relationship and convey empathy with your clients and colleagues you should be polite and say “I would be happy to help you after I finish my task at hand. Shall we discuss this issue after lunch ?”
13) “Don’t you think?” or “Okay?” –
These words are used when you are seeking validation from the client or your boss.
If you truly want their approval you can use this but if you want to send a commanding message confidently or you need them to perform an action, you should prevent using these words.
Imagine a Doctor saying “This medicine will work best for you, don’t you think? I will write this down on your prescription if that’s okay with you.” This would send instantly lower down the Doctor’s observation and decision making skill.
Instead you would like to hear something like this “This medicine will work best for you. I am writing it down on your prescription.”
14) “You guys.” –
This phrase should be limited to our friendly conversations and should not be used professionally.
It will appear inaccurate if a women is present in the group who might feel offended which can lower down the level of your professionalism.
“Your organization” or “Your team” or simply “You” are the best possible options available.
15) “I think…” –
Which of these two type of statements sounds easier to buy? “I think my company can provide you with the best services possible” Or “I believe that our company… ” Or ” I am confident that our company will provide the best services possible”.
Though only slightly different, you can notice the difference between the confidence and energy conveyed in these two different lines.
You need to stop sounding weak and insecure and sound more assertive and certain and passionate about yourself and your company.
16) “No problem.” –
“You are welcome” is the most courteous reply you can give when someone says “Thank you”.
It implies that it was a pleasure for you helping them out and their appreciation was gladly received and recognized.
You don’t want to be misjudged from the help seeker that their work was a problem for you. You should sound well-mannered while and after helping them out.
“No problem” is a laid back reply which doesn’t sound pleasing at all.
17) “I’ll try.” –
Nobody wants a half-hearted answer to their assignment of task or request for help.
For example if your client ask you to complete the work at max by 27th of august, and you reply with “I will try”. The client will sense a possibility of failure which may result in slipping of project from your hand.
Instead of this phrase try adding the intention of “will” to increase the client’s confidence on you. Try saying “I will do my best to complete the task by 27th of August.”
So these were
17 things you should never say at work
which I thought we all need to eradicate while we work. I am laying down few tips which might help you reach your goal.
Record yourself. Take a minute and install a call recorder and try recording all your professional conversations. At the end of the day listen to these and make a list which phrases you used were wrong or needed to be changed. Write down their alternatives and keep them handy by your desk or computer. Review them daily to keep getting better.
Take the help of your buddy. Ask your co-worker or your colleague to listen to you when you speak at meetings or phone conversations to a client. Take them out for lunch or a treat, keep your ego aside and listen out to their suggestions and feedback and try improving upon those. Ask them to remind if things go the other side.
Always ask yourself, “How could I have structured my idea in a better way?” Or, “What phrase would have communicated my idea or intention more positively?”
“The words you speak, Becomes the house you live in”
I hope you all got what I wanted to express. The suggestion I gave come from my personal experiences while doing freelancing and client management. Comment and let us know your reviews on it.
P.S. Bookmark things you should never say at work to keep your career in check.
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