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10 things you should never say at work

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Throughout my work history Ive studied some of the things people say that dont necessarily help them get what they want. Here are my top ten things you should avoid saying at work.

Ill take care of it

Weve all done it. You volunteer to do something you really dont want to do. Fine if you want to take responsibility. But if you dont, then dont put yourself forward.

Leave it with me

Thats nearly as bad. Youve just added another task to your list. Instead, try saying what you think needs to happen and who in your opinion should be responsible for leading it.


Do you mean yes, or do you mean no Its just not clear. Its perfectly all right to assert yourself, provided you do it in a professional way, and it’s easier to get respect from your peers if they know what you believe in.

“With all due respect

If ever a phrase meant the opposite of the words it contained, it’s this one. No respect at all, just a passive-aggressiveness.

I can’t

Nobody wants to hear what you can’t do. Try saying something more constructive like can we have another look at the timescale/budget/project team on that

No, but

Often, the words no, but could be replaced by yes, and Take the situation where a client is asking if your team can bring some work forward. You could say no, we can’t with our current resources, but we can get some extra people in to expedite the project , or you could say yes, and well get some extra people in to expedite it. They both mean the same thing, but one is positive.

This isnt the right answer, but

If you’re going to make a suggestion, make a suggestion. Dont undersell it.

Its not my job to

These days, our jobs seem to change by the minute. We need to be and seem flexible. Its all of our responsibility to help sort out any problem that our team is faced with.

“Who is speaking
If you’re in a meeting or a conference call, make sure you know exactly who is who so you can keep track of who has said and is saying what. If Im meeting people for the first time, I jot down their names and the positions theyre sitting in around the table in my notebook. It looks unprofessional if you dont know who is talking, and really professional when you do.

“What the ****!?

If you lose your cool, youve already lost the argument. Count to ten, do breathing exercises, but dont ever let the person you’re talking to see that youve lost control.

Communication is about control. If you can control yourself, youve got a much better chance of controlling your audience. And if you can control them, then you’re well on the way to getting what you want out of any given workplace situation. And heres one phrase that we should all use more often: thank you.

Steve Purdy is the UK MD of Regus, the flexible workspace provider that has 300 business centres in the UK and 2000 across 104 countries.

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