15039107717_e2019f003fWe all have our pet peeves when it comes to the way people speak at work. Whether it’s being asked to ‘think outside the box’ or make sure you ‘square the circle’, they can be incredibly frustrating and make you feel like you need a dictionary for basic office communication.
However, while these jargon filled phrases are far from ideal, it’s often the more simple phrases that can really hurt your career. Whether it’s harming your ability to manage people, impress clients, or simply just work effectively with others, it’s time to consider dropping them from your vocabulary altogether.

Trust me

What does this really mean? It means ‘I know more than you, and I’m not going to explain it to you’. Of course, there’s always time constraints in the workplace, and when you have serious courage in your convictions, you might not always have the time to explain.

However, if you’re so sure that you’re right, and you have concerns about the person you’re talking to as a worker, by not explaining it to them, you’re failing to educate them. While you may think you’re coming across as authoritative and valuing your time, you actually come across as unsure, and unwilling to defend your idea in the face of criticism.

Take the time, whenever you can, to explain your idea; you could be railroading a great suggestion and at best are passing up the opportunity to train a colleague in an area you know well. If there is a genuine rush? Give them the reassurance that you’ll explain at a later date or allow another colleague to fill in and explain for you.

That’s an interesting point

As this fantastic article points out, by overusing the word interesting, you’re really not saying anything at all. What exactly do you mean? The chances are that you don’t know and they don’t know. You’re usually just covering up for the fact that you weren’t listening or wanted to say something else, but didn’t want to offend.

Clarity of communication is hugely undervalued in the workplace and honesty, provided you’re not being abusive, is productive. Idea generation is essential to a thriving business, but the key is also for people not to be too precious about their ideas. Encourage open discussion, air your real thoughts and it will show that you’re actually listening and considering what they’ve said.

Can I borrow you for a sec?

When a phrase comes top of the list of the most hated phrases in the workplace, the chances are you should probably try to stop using it. The problem is, it’s neither strong enough, nor weak enough to get what you want.

If you are asking for someone’s time and help on a non-urgent task, then allow them to set a time that works for them. Respect their workload and schedule. By interrupting what they’re doing, the chances are you’re harming their productivity.

On the other side if you immediately require someone’s time and have the authority to ask for it, then do so. Tell them ‘I need your help on this now’ or ‘I need to discuss something with you urgently’.

Just get it done

Think you’re being straightforward and making your employees success-driven? Chances are that you’re actually just creating a culture of fear and making them complete their duties to the minimum required.

There’s nothing wrong with telling someone that they’re giving a project too much time or that you’d like them to go about something differently, but don’t face them with the prospect of completing it all costs, as the cost is likely to be that corners are cut and this can produce big problems going forward.

That’s not my job

Not only is this unnecessarily confrontational, but it makes you come across as inflexible and self-interested. There are plenty of times when it’s right to deflect roles and responsibilities handed to you, as you may not be the best person or could already be overloaded.

Explain that ‘it’s not really my specialty, but I think Brian would be able to help you on this’, or be honest about your workload and explain that you won’t be able to prioritize it. If the command is coming from your direct manager, asking them where it fits in your list of priorities is always favorable to flat out rejecting it.

Did you get my email?

Of course they did! What’s more, you know that they received it, you’re just trying to push it up their priorities list. Again, this comes down to respecting other people’s workloads; if it is truly a top priority, then follow up with another email explaining that you understand that they’re busy but that the problem is really urgent.

On the other hand, if you think they genuinely haven’t seen the email, you’re always better to interrupt with an explanation. Asking ‘did you get my email?’ is much more likely to annoy then just getting straight to the point.

Author: Matt Arnerich