Common phrases to avoid in the workplace…

Phrases to avoid at work

Communication in the workplace in clearly important, but even when you think you’re expressing yourself clearly, some things get lost in translation. Take a look at the phrases below and think about what you really mean the next time you use them…

What you say: “With all due respect.”
What you mean: “I think you’re wrong, but I’m trying to soften the blow.”
What they hear: “You’re talking rubbish.”

What you say: “I don’t have time to do that.”
What you mean: “I don’t have time to do that.”
What they hear: “I haven’t prioritised my workload properly.”

What you say: “It’s not fair.”
What you mean: “I think I deserve better for the work I put in.”
What they hear: “I’m a big moaner and all I do is complain.”

What you say: “That’s not my job.”
What you mean: “I’ve got a lot of work on without taking on responsibilities that aren’t mine.”
What they hear: “I’m not pulling my weight and I can’t be bothered to help.”

What you say: “I’ve sent an email.”
What you mean: “I’m on top of it.”
What they hear: “I haven’t started this job and I was hoping you’d forget about it.”

What you say: “Can I ask you a question?”
What you mean: “Do you have a moment to go through something with me or are you busy?”
What they hear: “Here is a meaningless question. Let me now waste more of your time.”

What you say: “Are you busy?”
What you mean: “Are you busy? Because I’ve got a job that needs doing,”
What they hear: “I’m about to give you a long, boring job that will make you stressed for pretty much no reward or recognition.”

What you say: “Did you get my email?”
What you mean: “I sent you an email but you haven’t responded to it.”
What they hear: “I’m pretty sure you do nothing all day, so I’m just going to interrupt you right now assuming you have the time to drop everything and do work for me.”

What you say: “Let’s touch base on this before close of play.”
What you mean: “I’d like you to get this done before the end of the day, please.”
What they hear: “I swallowed all four volumes of ‘Management Speak for Beginners’. Let me show you what I’ve learned.”

Sophie MacIntyre

Wednesday, 20 November 2013 at 10:00am

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I love it. I always thought "With respect" means "I am about to be rude to you".

Posted by Peter Burgess at 12:11pm

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