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Five words you use that are holding you back at work

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Few things are more annoying than sitting through a meeting filled with incomprehensible corporate jargon. But the words people choose to express themselves can be more than just annoying, they can change the way someone is perceived by others.

At work, the way you’re perceived can have a significant impact on your daily life, as well as your overall career. That’s why from the minute you send your job application to the moment you are hired, you present yourself in the best way possible.

Once you land the job, your everyday language can help you keep up your image of a capable, professional employee and colleague.

“The words you choose convey your emotional intelligence”, Lynn Taylor, a workplace expert in the United States, told Jacquelyn Smith at Business Insider. “While it can be tempting to use shortcuts when speaking, go into slang mode, or just follow the crowd, you should try not to.”

With that in mind Smith compiled a full list of words and phrases used at the office that make you sound less intelligent. We’ve picked our own top 5 as set out below.

1. Legit
If you’re discussing the legitimacy of a business model, or whether the qualification on a candidate’s CV are legitimate, use those words. They only involve a few extra syllables and allow you to maintain a more professional tone.

2. Dude, man, bro, chicks
All of these are inappropriate. If it sounds like something you used to say to your classmates back in high school, don’t use it in the office.

3. My bad
Taking responsibility for your work and owning up to your mistakes are great examples of professional behaviour. Unless you do so by saying “my bad”. The Cambridge Dictionary classes the phrase as informal, meaning it is “used in relaxed situations, for example with friends and family”. If you’re looking for an alternative, a simple “that was my mistake” will do.

4. Whatever
No matter the topic or person you’re speaking to, your reply to anything work related should never be “whatever”. Not only is it not helpful, it can make you seem uninterested, which isn’t a quality managers are looking for in an employee.

5. Swear words
You should think carefully about using swear words in any kind of situation, since people have different tolerance levels towards them. What may seem like just a word to you, could deeply offend your boss or co-worker. Swear words are never an integral part of a sentence, so eliminating them from your vocabulary shouldn’t be too difficult.

ALSO READ: 5 things HR should stop saying (and what we can try instead)

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