How you communicate with your co-workers and boss plays a huge role on how you are perceived, your ability to move projects forward, and how quickly you'll be able to advance in your chosen career. This is according to the national workplace expert and author, Lynn Taylor.
"How you articulate your ideas and thoughts has a direct correlation to how you can garner cooperation as well as persuade other people in supporting your projects and efforts. The specific words that a person uses convey his or her emotional intelligence," says Taylor.
Your verbal communication may make or break the relationship that you have with your team, clients, boss, business partners, and the entire industry network. Choosing language that will dumb you down will result in you being misunderstood by the people you work with. This can significantly decrease your chances of advancing in your career.
According to Taylor, a well-spoken person does not go out of style. It may be tempting to follow the crowd, go straight into slang mode, and use shortcuts when you speak, but you should try your best not to.
Below are some expressions that you should never use at work if you want to sound smart:
"Potentially," "Possibly," and "Maybe"
Bail out on the use of words that give a hint of indecision such as maybe, probably, possibly, hopefully, largely, and basically. A lot of qualifiers have the same effect. Using these words won't instill confidence that you have the situation under control or handled.
"Kind of" or "Sort of"
When you hear someone saying "I sort of suspect" or "I kind of think," it’s clear that he or she does not want to speak the truth. It may also be that this particular person is still indecisive.
For example, imagine a sales manager saying: "I kind of think we should approach Mrs. Robinson again since it has been too long from the last time she ordered. What do you think?"
To you, this will seem as if your boss is uncertain on going forward and wants your genuine opinion. It may also be that this person is giving direction but is softening the statement to not appear forceful. This certainly lacks clarity. It will only make leaders sound less transparent and less confident.
"I am not sure, but..."
For starters, it’s definitely fine to be unsure of something. False confidence is just as terrible as open ignorance. However, saying that you are not sure when, in fact, you have a grasp on the topic will only undercut your cause.
Aside from "I'm not sure," you should also avoid simple qualifiers such as "just my opinion," "only a thought," and "hard to say." They sound humble but these idioms won't help you make a compelling case on the matter discussed.
What's more, they won't let you stress out the facts that you know about the situation. Your goal is not to downplay risks or minimize uncertainty. Instead, it’s to be known as someone who should be taken seriously as you can confidently navigate gray-area experiences.