Employer Branding

5 Phrases You Really Should Avoid Using at Work

These days, many employees are interested in moving up the career ladder by attaining promotions, raises, bonuses, etc. If this is the case for you, it’s important to know that how you communicate with other employees and your boss can play a profound role in determining whether you are perceived in a positive or negative light. With this idea in mind, make sure you aren’t using any of the following five phrases when you communicate with others:

1. “Don’t throw him/her under the bus.”

This phrase is used to describe the process of getting someone in trouble by placing blame on them or not standing up for him or her. The phrase is definitely relevant within the business world because of the fact that people are constantly manipulating and using others in an unethical, harmful manner that is not acceptable. However, using a phrase like “Don’t throw him under the bus” isn’t acceptable either. The problem with the idiom is that it conjures up images of violence in the mind of the listener. This is not the type of mindset that you want to put anyone into in the work place. President of Well Said, Inc. Darlene Price once said that she deems the phrase “murderous” and says that it should be replaced with a statement like ‘Don’t name and blame another for a mistake.’

2. “Think outside the box.”

The idiom “Think outside the box” has been around for quite a while and it’s getting old. When a cliche is used repeatedly, it loses its originality and fails to really resonate any type of excitement or organicity. In the workplace setting, you always want to come across as an individual with fresh ideas and originality, not a cookie-cutter, robotic employee. For this reason, avoid incorporating trite phrases like “Think outside the box” into your conversations.

3. “That’s not my problem.”

It is true that each employee is typically given a specific set of tasks to accomplish. It is also true that constantly taking on other people’s assignments can preclude you from getting your own work done. However, using a phrase like “That’s not my problem” to prevent someone from getting you to do their work is not a good idea. This is the case for several reasons, including the fact that you never want to define or conceptualize a work assignment as a “problem.” The word “problem” is negative and connotes the idea that it is a difficult, nearly insurmountable task that has to be grappled with. Difficult work assignments should be thought of as “challenges” or “mountains to climb.” Also note that phrases like “That’s not my problem” are alienating and promote workplace hostility by insinuating that you are not a team player. A more effective phrase would be “That’s not within my scope of practice.” You can learn how to incorporate other more effective phrases into your vocabulary by taking a corporate sales training course. These courses help you to optimize your ability to effectively communicate with both coworkers and prospective clients.

4. “I’m just kidding.”

“I’m just kidding” is a phrase that you want to avoid at all costs. As many of us know, jokes are not always just jokes. Rather, they’re a roundabout way to communicate thoughts or feelings without making them plain directly. For this reason, telling a joke to convey your ideas or opinions can be confusing to a listener who is uncertain about whether you’re serious. Thus even if you are “just kidding,” your joke can be taken seriously. Because of all the confusion that a phrase like “I’m just kidding” can create, be sure that you omit it from your vocabulary in the workplace.

5. “I’m tired.”

Never, ever say “I’m tired” in the workplace setting. The office environment should be one where your energy levels are always sufficient to complete whatever task is required of you. Saying “I’m tired” suggests inefficacy. If you are indeed tired, think about what life changes you need to make in order to attain and maintain the energy necessary to complete your required tasks.

If you’re trying to do an exceptional job at work, note that the words you use can play a profound role in helping you realize your goal. By reviewing the tips and advice outlined above, you can omit problematic phrases from your vocabulary and communicate with your coworkers and boss in a more effective, positive manner. Good luck!

Author: Jennifer Livingston is a business consultant and writer who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management.

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