Common phrases that are sabotaging your career

  • Previous
  • 1 of 5
  • View as single page

When you say thoughtless things in meetings, you are sabotaging yourself, the team, and/or your company. The wrong word can cost you an account, a job, a friend, and a partner. Sounds crazy right? But in the words of Mark Twain, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter -- 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning."

There is no question that words and our style of speaking matter. How you speak and what you say is a reflection of who you are -- as my son would say, "right dude." Our language and delivery are key to our communication and how we are perceived (you got it -- my son is under 21). Regardless of the audience, topic, or industry, or whether the situation is a presentation, sit-down conversation, telephone discussion, an interview, or an online meeting, people use language to either get, give, share, and/or influence others.

Common phrases that are sabotaging your career

Therefore, if you want to be perceived as a smart, valued employee or leader in the workplace, a great place to start is by deliberately choosing to speak words and phrases that are empowering to yourself and others; to use language that captivates, motivates, and inspires; and to communicate a vocal persona that conveys transparency, confidence, and integrity.

As an executive recruiter for the past 17 years, I have had the good fortune to speak with hundreds of executives and senior leaders, whether they are seeking a new position or looking to hire people for their team. Certain phrases consistently come up that make me ponder the underlying issues: "I've been telling my team that we need X and no one's doing it" or "I'm looking to hire people that can outperform my current sales manager." Often, I find that their words and tone reveal insecurities about themselves and negative thinking regarding their co-workers and company. Never before in the history of the human race have we been able to communicate faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive; where people must be cutting-edge, competitive, and cost-effective; and where employees and leaders who don't chose their words carefully will likely be replaced by those who convey a more positive attitude, collaborative spirit, proactive behavior, and professional demeanor -- and it does not matter who you are and how much money you have (i.e. Donald Sterling).