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The 5 Things You Should Never Say in a Professional Work Setting

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We’ve all been there—at that meeting when someone is talking about thought showers, sustainable mobility solutions and creating a road map for a precise flow chart in the right swim lane.

Jargon. For many, it’s a scourge on the business landscape. It often starts out as a useful tool, acting as corporate shorthand, and using it can make it clear that you're part of the team. The problem is that a lot of it is a sheer puffery, nothing but bloated overused phrases. 

And while language may not seem like a big deal on the surface, it’s what creates a common code of communication that shapes our workplace culture and so much more. Words matter. It’s how we build strong relationships and thrive in our careers. Everything you say determines how people perceive you.

If you want to maximize your success, here are the top five phrases to avoid using in the workplace.

"We’ve always done it this way"

While you may be right, what others hear (and they may be your bosses) is that you are resistant to change. Progress simply can't happen if people aren't willing to at least entertain the idea of changing things. Not that long ago we all used the phone book, too.

Say this instead: “What are the benefits of trying this new method?” If the new way is better, they should be able to tell you why. If not, this is your chance to say why you believe in the current method. “Because that's how we've always done it” isn't a reason. 

"This will only take a second/minute"

This one is a double whammy. First, it's not true. It's never true. Even saying, “This will only take a few minutes” is much better. Secondly, this phrase declares that what you have to say or show is more important than what the other person is working on. Be considerate when disrupting someone else's workflow.

Say this instead: “Let me know when you have a few minutes to chat. I want to show you something.” This more professional behavior in the workplace lets the other person have some say as to whether or not right now is the best time to spare a few minutes.

"I’ll try"

No one can do everything — we’re only human, after all. But saying you’ll “try” to do something simply suggests failure. If, for whatever reason, you’re unable to do something, then don’t and simply explain why you can’t. To quote the great Jedi Master, Yoda: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Say this instead: “I may need to enlist some help to meet that deadline, but I'll get this covered.” It's honest, but it also says that you'll get it done.

"That's not my job"

This little phrase can have huge consequences for your career — so much so, you might as well have said “That’s not my promotion”. Being unwilling to go the extra mile when you’re asked to (that said, you shouldn’t really need to be asked to go the extra mile) could color you as uncooperative, lazy and irresponsible.

Say this instead: “Sure. I'm not sure I've done that before, but I'll take care of that for you.” 

Embrace the opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone and expand your career.

"I may be wrong, but…" or "This may be a silly idea, but…"

Each of these discounting phrases diminishes the impact of the subsequent statements and erodes your credibility. Your words reveal to the world how much value you place on yourself and your message. If you aren’t confident in your ideas, your colleagues and superiors will not be either. 

Say this instead:  “I recommend ABC” or “My idea is XYZ”. To convey a command of content and passion for your subject, substitute the word ‘think’ with ‘believe’ and replace ‘might’ with ‘will’.

While the words you choose can have a profound impact on your ability to succeed, you should always feel confident about your prospects. Visit the nextpit Job Board to find your perfect placement.

Commercial space travel pioneer Blue Origin is currently recruiting for a Principal Avionics Engineer to help develop avionics, power distribution and related electrical systems for the New Shepard program, a reusable suborbital rocket system to take astronauts and research payloads past the Kármán line. If your dream is to join a diverse team of problem solvers who are passionate about the next generation of spaceflight, apply now.

Nike is seeking a Software Engineer in Beaverton to develop, code, configure, and test programs, systems and solutions independently with minimal supervision to meet defined digital product specifications. You’ll also advise product owners on discrete technology-related business problems. You’ll need a Master's degree in computer science, information systems, or software engineering and two years’ of experience.

Boeing Intelligence & Analytics (BIA) which supports global missions by providing intelligence, analytics, and cybersecurity solutions, has several open roles including one for a Database Engineer. In this six-figure-salary role, you’ll build and develop new database systems and software, as well as be responsible for supporting upgrades and troubleshooting issues. The successful hire can look forward to hands-on access to cutting-edge technologies, a culture of technical excellence, as well as a 10k sign on bonus.

Start your job search today via the nextpit Job Board. This article was written by Suzie Coen.

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