Unknowingly, we often use a lot of words and phrases in the workplace that we should try to avoid. Sometimes these are small, connecting words that can make us sound less authoritative, weak or too pleasing.
I am guilty of using all five all too often and am trying to drill into myself every day that I should refrain from using them and switch up my vocabulary.
You’ll more than likely recognise the below five phrases and notice that you too use these words more than you should.
Also, hands up if you use too ! many ! exclamation ! marks ! in ! your ! emails!
‘Just following up,’ ‘Just want to ask,’ or ‘Just want to check’. I know we all like to drop a ‘just’ here and there in our emails to come across as non-demanding and a bit friendlier, but let’s stop.
If you’re following up on something, you’re following up. If you’re asking a question, you’re asking a question. If you want to check something, you want to check something. No more ‘just’!.
Instead of ‘Hi, just following up on the email I sent yesterday,’ or ‘Hi, just want to follow up on the below,’ try saying, ‘Hi, following up on the below’.
You wont offend anyone by leaving out this four letter word, and more often than not you’ll get a quicker reply as leaving out the word ‘just’ makes it sound a little bit more urgent.
Is it too late now to say sorry? Yes, yes it is. Don’t get me wrong, I say sorry as much as the average over-apologising person, apologising to the door that I bump into, apologising to someone who has walked straight into me for looking at their phone and apologising when entering a room for nothing at all.
Why is it our default to just say sorry all the time?
‘Sorry to ask,’ ‘Sorry to remind you,’ or ‘Sorry, can I check,’ – no more ‘sorry’.
Instead, try ‘Hi, can I ask,’ ‘Hi, have you got,’ or ‘Can I check’. No more apologising for asking questions, for checking on something or asking for something.
It’s a very common Irish/British thing to do but try the American approach and remove the word ‘sorry’ from your emails (unless you’ve made a mistake, obviously.
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3. THIS MIGHT BE A STUPID QUESTION
No question is ever stupid when you are starting out in your career. That’s the first thing your manager should say to you when starting a new job. It’s always better you ask a question first before going on to doing something the wrong way.
I always think it’s better to ask the question than not ask the question and make a bad decision because you didn’t ask. And surely your manager would prefer you ask if you’re unsure, rather than guessing.
Always ask the question, no matter how stupid you think it will sound. But maybe Google it first to see if the answer is there.
4. I’LL TRY
It might just be me, but I’m not a huge fan of the ‘I’ll try’ method. ‘I’ll try and have this done in the next hour,’ or ‘I’ll try and have this done by the end of the day’.
Either you will have it done by the time you say, or you won’t. God, I’m harsh aren’t I? But I mean, if you’re going to do something, you’re going to do it – right?
Change ‘I’ll try,’ to ‘I will’. Or if you won’t, then let them know how long it will take. Simple really.
5. YES X100
‘Hi, can you do this?’ ‘Yes!’
‘Hi, can you also add this to your workload?’ ‘Yes!’
‘Hi, can you also have this five hour report done by the end of today? ‘Yes!’
Let’s stop saying ‘Yes!’ to everything that comes our way.
Know your workload and how much you can handle. If you’ve got too much on your plate, let the person know and give them an accurate timeframe.
You really don’t need to say ‘Yes!’ to absolutely everything to please anyone. In fact, it’s probably better to let the person know how busy you are so that they aren’t disappointed/frustrated when it takes you a long time to return something that takes a short time but is less of a priority for you.
You don’t have to say a firm ‘No’ but you can say that you’ve got a lot of work on at the moment and you will be able to get around to that task in a few hours or the next day. Clear communication is key.
Let me know if there are any other phrases you find yourself using all the time in the workplace that you wish you wouldn’t. I’m sure I’ve left out quite a few!