Words and phrases to avoid in a professional environment ppt
12 words and phrases to avoid in
a Professional environment
Sanvels Consulting Services I Pvt. Ltd.
12 Career-Killer Comments
Communication is key to career success. So
it’s crucial to be aware of our language and
word choice. The words we choose and the
context in which use them can make or break
us, whether we are on staff at a company or
self-employed. Here are 12 words and phrases
• Use this word and it’s as if you deleted
everything that came before it. Tell someone,
“You’re doing a great job, but. . .” and what
you mean is that what they’ve done still isn’t
good enough. Using the word “but” to
connect the good message with a not-goodenough message is negative and ineffective.
Instead, put a period on the good job
sentence, or change the “but” to “and.”
2. Don’t you think….
• Starting a sentence with a negative sets a
negative tone. This one is also a leading
question that puts people on the spot. It’s
better to ask an open-ended question, such
as: “What do you think. . .?” or “Do you think.
• This implies that the rest of the time you are
not being truthful. Instead, say what you
mean directly. It will improve your credibility
4. Why don’t you…..
• This is probably not the question you are really
asking and sets the person up to tell you why not
or even to feel judged. If you want to make a
statement and are not asking a question at all,
then say so. For instance, “I would like you to take
on this project” rather than, “Why don’t you take
on this project?” If you really are asking a
question, rephrase it in the positive: “What do
you think/feel about taking on this project?” or
“How about you take on this project?”
• Whenever possible, avoid starting a sentence
with this word; when the sentence is a
statement, it can quickly take the conversation
down an accusatory or judgmental path.
When it’s an open-ended question, “you”
works fine. Wrong way: “You aren’t going to
do that, are you?” Right way: “Are you going
to do that?”
6. Not to be.. funny/sarcastic/critical, but.
• This is a false and dangerous start. It really
means you are going to be funny, sarcastic or
critical, and are trying to cover it up by putting
the negative word “not” in front to soften the
blow. Therefore, you can’t really be trusted.
The listener’s defenses will immediately go up,
and most, if not all, listening stops.
7. That’s (or you’re) ridiculous/stupid/idiotic/boring
[or fill in the blank with the derogatory term of your
• Whenever you begin a sentence or respond to
someone with these labeling words, you will
automatically be seen as judgmental, closeminded, opinionated, condescending, or
8. I meant to tell you…
• This is a signal that you don’t really mean it,
because if you did, you would have said
whatever it was earlier. If you really did forget,
say so and apologize for doing so.
9. Surely you jest….
• Sarcasm is a sure way to chip away at trust
and credibility. These words, used together,
telegraph the message that you think the
person or that individual’s ideas are a joke.
You won’t win friends or exert influence using
10. I’m pissed..
• This is a show stopper. It means you are
unable to manage your emotions and work
through your anger in a thoughtful way. It’s
important to be honest and authentic about
how you feel, and it’s best to do it when you
are not in the heat of the moment.
11. Who do you think you are?
• This is condescending and patronizing. It
sends a signal that the person is talking or
acting inappropriately for the situation at
hand. No one takes those words lightly,
whether they come from a boss, peer, or
parent. Instead, the question should be,
“What/why are you saying/doing?” Then
listen for the answer – it may surprise you.
• Try not to use global generalizations and
absolutes; there are exceptions to most things
most of the time. You lose credibility when
using absolutes too often, in the wrong places
and for the wrong reasons. If the truth is
always or never, explain why, rather than let
the word hang there as if you know it all.
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