Words and Phrases to Avoid

Communication is very important in every aspect of our life. Bad communication can result in all sorts of undesirable consequences. It is therefore important that we pay attention to what we convey with the words and phrases we choose in our everyday personal and professional speech and writing. Perhaps the most important aspect of our communication is our personal and family interactions, but let’s discuss that another day, in another blog entry. Today I want to focus on what not to say in the context of our professional work life.

Remove these phrases from conversations at work:

1. “That’s not my job.” It could also cost your job. While a task may not fit directly within your original job description, it’s for the greater good of the company that you lend a hand wherever and whenever possible.

2. “I’ll try.” Not only will you eliminate the trust of coworkers, you’ll also place doubt in the minds of your customers and clients. Replace “try” with “will” for better results.

3. “I dislike…” Avoid constant negativity and filter in more positivity. For instance, instead of saying you dislike meetings because they run too long, figure out a way to energize them or keep them short.

4. “I’m too busy.” Everyone’s really busy. Replace this phrase with something like, “Once I tackle this task, I’ll be happy to take a look at that.”

 

Avoid these phrases during an interview:

1. “I think…” This statement only shows self-doubt — something you can’t risk in an interview. Drop this phrase and replace it with something more confident like “In my experience…”

2. “To be honest…” Stating this before you answer a question may lead the interviewer to believe you weren’t being honest during the rest of your interview. This phrase does not add any value and it should be dropped from all conversations.

3. “We did something…we achieved something” When being asked to describe your contribution to a project or describe your experience, say what you did, what you were responsible for. Say “We” in this context leaves the interviewer thinking what did the candidate actually contribute and often they will ask you to specify.

4. “My previous employer was awful…” Badmouthing is never a good idea — it shows you’re untrustworthy or disloyal. If you’re badmouthing one person, you’ll badmouth others. Even if the previous employer was the worst anyone can imagine, leave the criticism aside.
Remove these phrases from your resume:

1. “Highly qualified.” Show, don’t tell. This simply sounds like a boastful statement and it is most often used by candidates who are not that highly qualified.

2. “Familiar with…” Once again, it’s essential to show an employer exactly how you’ve used technical programs or specific skills. Being familiar with something could mean you’ve heard of it or vaguely remember reading about it. You either know it or you don’t.

3. “Team player.” Rather than say this, share your team work achievement and accomplishments so the hiring managers can see that you are in fact a team player.

4. “Problem solver.” Rather share a problem-solving achievement that benefited your previous employer or client.

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