What Not to Say at Work

Published Wednesday, March 17, 2010 7:40 AM

We all have foot-in-mouth moments when we say something inappropriate to a co-worker, supervisor or boss. These slips are normal and inevitable. When they happen, it helps to acknowledge them and apologize right away.

Occasional slips aside, with multiple lines of business communication at our disposal, it is important to know what we can and cannot say at work. Over at Trump University, The Donald himself (via CareerBuilder.com) advises that we should never say:

  • That's not my job
  • Don't tell anyone I said this, but ....
  • I haven't had a raise in years
  • It's not my fault
  • I just didn't have enough time for that

Citing a list compiled by Men's Health, a New York Times article titled What Not to Say at the Office adds these forbidden phrases:

  • My boss is in over his/her head
  • Co-worker X is an idiot
  • If I can just push out X ...

As important as it is, being aware of what not to say at work is just one side of the coin. The other side is being able to communicate effectively with people we encounter on-the-job. You will find some solid guidance is this Tech Republic post on communicating with customers and co-workers.  Among the tips offered is:

·         Beware of interrupting

·         Listen actively

·         Avoid negative questions

Fast Company also provides constructive pointers in a post on Making Communication Work, including the stand out: Respect others' opinions.

I always try to think before I speak, how will what I say be perceived? Do you have some workplace communication tips? Feel free to share them with us by posting a comment or via email.

by Candie Harris


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# Maranda Gibson said on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 8:58 PM

Say whatever you want about Donald, but he knows business. That's not my job is the most annoying phrase that can be uttered in a workplace.  Communication always goes smoother when a positive attitude is behind it.

# 7718 said on Thursday, March 25, 2010 8:31 PM

A positive Attitude at work will go a long way, its what makes days go fast. It really is true, time flies when your having fun.

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