When the patience is low and the stress is high, when you want to smile but you also just want to cry, you may let unprofessional words and phrases slip out. We’ve all been there. Work can be challenging. And juggling coworkers and bosses can sometimes seem like climbing up a downward-moving escalator.
It’s in these moments, that you must keep your cool. Whether you need a woo-sah moment or need to head to the onsite gym to sweat it out, try your hardest to maintain a calm, collected disposition at work.
I recently read “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job” by Lynn Taylor and it opened my eyes to the words and behaviors that are downright dangerous to a career. It inspired me to come up with the 8 things to never say in a meeting.
Banish these phrases before it costs you your brand.
Sure, a certain someone is tossing this word around left and right, but don’t drop this during your next staff meeting.
“Having good language skills is crucial not only to effective communication and trust – but your career, too,” writes Taylor. “So it’s worthwhile to find original words – and ways – to be authentic and professional with your team and managers.”
“As a CEO or senior manager, you wield tremendous influence to seize the opportunities presented here — to create an exuberant workforce and increase profitability,” writes Taylor. Don’t undermine your success or your influence by poor diction. For the record, yes ‘conversate’ is a word, but most people use it incorrectly. When in doubt, stick with ‘converse’ or ‘speak with.’ You’ll avoid any odd looks of confusion.
3. Bro, Dude or Homie
You’re no longer in college and this isn’t fraternity row. Instead of addressing your male colleagues as ‘bro’ consider simply using first names. You’ll still be likable and cool, we promise.
4. Trust me
Business is based on mutually beneficial relationships and trust. However, using the phrase ‘trust me’ either in negotiations or when taking on a difficult project can make you sound the opposite of trusted. In fact, those who use this phrase are often not to be trusted to deliver on their promise. “Trust is the cornerstone of any sustainable business relationship, so it’s worthwhile to find original words – and ways – to be authentic and professional with your team and managers,” insists Taylor.
5. That’s crazy
Beware of snap judgments or potentially offensive remarks like this one. Whether directed at a person or an idea brainstormed in a meeting, ‘that’s crazy’ reeks of discrimination and makes you look extra ‘judgy’. According to Taylor, using phrases like ‘that’s crazy,’ ‘how stupid,’ and ‘that’s dumb,’ can show your true weaknesses. “Emotional intelligence in the workplace seems like a buzz term…but your ability to regulate your own emotions for better interpersonal relations can be the difference of having a great career versus a good one,” she says.
“Not having emotional intelligence is sure to slow your professional growth. The workplace is a fabric of people who can only move their projects forward with the support of others. In a macro sense, a team with strong emotional intelligence can mean millions of dollars added to the bottom line.”
Words like ‘synergy’ and ‘wheelhouse’ are completely overused lingo. While they are fine to use occasionally, steer clear of overused words. Dropping these in meetings can make you look as though you are trying too hard and not truly genuine. Stick to your lexicon and ditch the buzzwords.
While many insist that this is not a real word, it is referenced as a nonstandard word in major dictionaries. Nevertheless, the double negative (“ir-” and “-less”) just sounds bad. Stay away from words that are made-up vernacular that may have slipped into common conversation but don’t really belong. Instead, just say ‘regardless,’ ‘in spite of,’ ‘nevertheless,’ or even ‘notwithstanding.’ Rule of thumb: if you’re not sure about the validity of a word, don’t use it.
8. That’s not my job
Last but not least, this is a phrase you should never, ever utter at work unless you’d like to be unemployed. Sure, it can be dreadful to be assigned a task that isn’t technically in your ‘wheelhouse,’ however, answering your manager or the team with the response ‘that’s not my job’ is not a smart move.
This phrase and its cousins — ‘I’m too busy’ and ‘Can’t someone else do it’ — are surefire ways for your performance review to go a little something like this: “While you’ve excelled at your individual work, I’m really worried that you’re not a team player and that you are unwilling to collaborate on projects for the good of the team and the company. Given this, I’m not sure whether XYZ company is the place for you.”
Avoid that conversation entirely by simply making note of the assignment, then having a chat with your manager one-on-one to discuss your workload and the upcoming project.
“If you like your job and want to advance, but feel like you’re sometimes your own worst enemy, take a step back,” advises Taylor. “There’s only one thing that can sabotage anyone from achieving greatness – and conversely catapult anyone to the top. Ourselves.”