10 Phrases to Avoid That Make You Sound Unprofessional

Have you ever heard a colleague say something that just made you cringe? Or you can feel the whole energy change when someone says something totally unprofessional without realizing it? This feedback is so hard to give to others in the workplace because it’s difficult to hear constructive criticism. The best workers make the best situation and try to learn and grow from it. Language is so important in the workplace – it can affect how people see you. Whether this is your clients, your boss, your coworkers, it’s something we all my have been guilty of and some point! Let’s get into it!

1.    “It’s not my fault.”
a.    Translation: “It may or may not be my fault but I’m too scared to admit it. I don’t want to take responsibility for it.”
b.    Alternative: Let’s come up with a solution!

2.    “You’re wrong!”
a.    Translation: “My way is the only way!”
b.    Alternative: “I think I see things differently…this is how…”

3.    “Is that okay?”
a.    Translation: “SOMEONE HELP ME! I need someone to just tell me what to do or confirm it’s okay.”
b.    Alternative: “Is this what you had in mind…?”

4.    “If you say so.”
a.    Translation: “I’m pissed off, not listening to you anymore, and don’t want to be bothered to discuss it.”
b.    Alternative: “Okay, I understand what you’re saying.”

5.    “Trust me on this.”
a.    Translation: “I haven’t figured out how this is going to work yet. I have no proof or any idea how this will work out but I will…at some point.”
b.    Alternative: “I’m currently working on this and have a potential solution.”

6.    “*Insert name* told me to do it, though!”
a.    Translation: I can’t think for myself and therefore I will put the blame on someone else.
b.    Alternative: “I apologize, clearly there was a mistake made.”

7.    “To be honest…”
a.    Translation: “I’m hoping to convince you otherwise, but I won’t be using a fact or proof…just my thoughts.”
b.    Alternative: “If you want my opinion, I think…”

8.    “I know what I’m doing.”
a.    Translation: “I’m not willing to accept or hear any advice, guidance, or something constructive for what I’m working on.”
b.    Alternative: “I’m currently working on a solution that I believe will work…what ideas do you have?”

9.    “I’m the real deal”
a.    Translation: “I’m extremely conceited and I want to make it more obvious than it already is.”
b.    Alternative: “I strive to be the best I can be at my work.”

10.    “It’s a win-win”
a.    Translation: “Actually, I’m getting the better deal and hoping you don’t notice.”
b.    Alternative: “I think this is mutually beneficial…”

In conclusion…
Hopefully this helped you out a little bit…or maybe you can help someone else out. Being professional kind of works like first impressions…if you make one bad first impression it takes a while to get back to a good place or have someone view you positively. Like saying something completely unprofessional can totally change someone’s opinion of you in the workplace and easily take away everything positive you have done up to that point. Anyway, I try to keep these things in mind no matter what situation comes up at work – it has helped me a lot and helps me professionally get my point across in most situations. What did I miss? I know everyone’s different and we experience these each day! Comment below and let me know!





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