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Avoid making unkind, judgmental statements that will inevitablyreflect poorly on you. If you have a genuine complaint aboutsomeone or something, communicate the issue withtact,consideration and neutrality.

Nothing tanks a career faster than name-calling. Not only does itreveal juvenile school-yard immaturity, it’s language that isliable and fire-able.

The meaning implies that it was a pleasure for you to help theperson, and that you receive their appreciation. Though the casuallaid-back phrase, ‘no problem’ may intend to communicate this, itfalls short. It actually negates the person’s appreciation andimplies the situation could have been a problem under othercircumstances. In business and social situations, if you want tobe perceived as well-manneredand considerate, respond to thank you’ s with, “You’rewelcome.”

If you asked someone for help, and the person replied with one ofthe above phrases, how would you feel? As importantly, what wouldit say about him or her? Regardless of how inconvenient orinappropriate a request may be, it is likely important to the otherperson or they would not have asked. Therefore, as a contributingmember of the team, a top priority is to care about the success ofothers (or at least act as though you do). Anunconcerned, detached and self-serving attitudequickly limits career advancement.


Which of these two statements sounds more authoritative?: “I think our company might be a goodpartner for you.” Or, “I believe…” “I know…” or “I am confidentthat our company will be a good partner for you.”

The most



2. “That’s not my problem,” “That’s not my job,” or “Idon’t get paid enough for this.”

1. “这不公平。”

Imagine it’s April 15th and you ask a friend to mail your taxreturns before 5pm on his way to the post office. If he replies,‘Okay, I’ll try,’ you’ll likely feel the need to mail themyourself. Why? Because that phrase implies the possibility offailure.


5. “我试试看。”


In speaking with hundreds of executives and senior leaders over thepast twenty years, certain phrases consistently come up ascareer-limiting phrases that jeopardize one’s professional imageand potential for promotion. To the speaker they may seem likeharmless words, however, to the listener they reveal a morecritical issue: In a workplace where employers must becutting-edge, competitive, and cost-effective, employees who usethese phrases will likely be replaced with those who convey a morepositive attitude,collaborative spirit, proactive behavior andprofessional demeanor. Here are 13 phrases that should be bannedfrom the office:

There is a slight difference in the wording, howeverthe conviction communicated to yourcustomer is profound. You may have noticed, the first phrasecontains two weak words, ‘think’ and ‘might.’ They risk making yousound unsure or insecure about the message. Conversely, the secondsentence is assertive and certain. To convey acommand of content and passion for your subject, substitute theword ‘think’ with ‘believe’ and replace ‘might’ with ‘will.’

5. “I’ll try.”


4. “No problem.”

3. “我认为……”

When someone thanks you, the courteous and polite reply is, “You’rewelcome.”

She got a raise, you didn’t. He was recognized, you weren’t. Somepeople have food to eat while others starves. Injustices happen onthe job and in the world every day. Whether it’s a troubling issueat work or a serious problem for the planet, the point in avoidingthis phrase is to be proactive about the issues versus complaining,or worse, passively whining. Instead, document the facts, build acase, and present an intelligent argument to the person or groupwho can help you.



7. “But we’ve always done it that way.”


6. “他是个傻瓜”,“她很懒”,“我的工作真糟糕”或“我讨厌这家公司”。

6. “He’s a jerk,” or “She’s lazy,” or “My job stinks,” or“I hate this company.”



2. “那不是我的问题”,“那不是我的工作”或“这不是我的分内之事”。

3. “I think…”


1. “It’s not fair.”

7. “但这是我们的惯例。”

In your speech, especially with senior leaders, replace the word‘try’ with the word andintention of ‘will.’ This seeminglysmall change speaks volumes.

This doesn’t mean you have to say yes; it does mean you need tobe articulate and thoughtful when sayingno. For example, if your boss issues an unreasonable request,rather than saying, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me. I don’t get paidenough for this,’ instead say, ‘I’ll be glad to help. Given mycurrent tasks of A, B, and C, which one of these shall I place onhold while I work on this new assignment?’ This clearlycommunicates teamwork and helpfulness, while reminding your boss ofyour current work load and the need toset realistic expectations.