12 Career-killing Phrases

12 Career killing Phrases image iStock fearsome guy 000005461124Small copy 300x22512 Career killing PhrasesEarly in my career I worked under a manager with terrible people skills. People would run from his office in tears. Memories of this guy whizzed by as I read this article in Forbes about “12 career-killing comments.”

In the decades since that job, I’ve tried to get better at interpersonal communications; it’s something I work on every day. Sometimes being a straight shooter can be misinterpreted as being abrupt. (Also, my mom was right about “Think before you speak.”)

Since I’d like to stay in business, I’ve learned not to say: “I’m too busy. I can’t write your case study until next Thursday.” Instead: “I’d be happy to write that case study for you. I can get a first draft to you next Thursday.” The second answer sounds more positive, less confrontational.

Here’s the list by author Deborah L. Jacobs:

  1. But…
  2. Don’t you think
  3. Truthfully
  4. Why don’t you
  5. You
  6. Not to be funny/sarcastic/critical, but
  7. That’s (or you’re) ridiculous/stupid/idiotic/boring
  8. I meant to tell you
  9. Surely you jest
  10. I’m pissed
  11. Who do you think you are?
  12. Always/never

If you read the article, you’ll benefit from the author’s explanation of why it’s best to avoid these phrases. She also suggests career-enhancing alternatives.

Since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, it’s probably worth saying that steering clear of these phrases could enhance your personal relationships too.

Oh, and I would add one phrase to this list: “With all due respect.” In my opinion, when you utter this, the person you’re speaking to hears: “You’re full of crap.”

What would you add?

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