When asked to do something at work or to give your opinion you might be tempted to say the first thing that comes into your head. Sometimes the first thing that comes into your head is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is not appropriate in a professional environment. Below are a few things it’s better to avoid saying, along with the appropriate alternatives.
This is how we always do it
If asked to do something in a brand-new way you may be tempted to blurt out that the thing is already being accomplished in a perfectly acceptable way. However that will make you seem inflexible and averse to change. Instead ask, Why is this new way better?
I’ve done all I can
You already tried everything you can think of and you still can’t find appropriate solution or answer to the question. Instead of throwing up your arms in frustration say, I’ve tried everything I can think of, can you suggest any other options?
That’s not under my jurisdiction
Sometimes you will be asked to do something that really isn’t under your umbrella. If you dismiss the request out of hand you’ll be seen as a non team player. Rather offer an alternative. I see what you need. I suggest you talk to X.
That makes no sense to me
Even if what you’re being asked to do makes no sense to you there’s no reason to get the back up of the person who’s speaking to you. Get an explanation first. I’m not sure understand. Can you explain this to me?
You are wrong
You might be absolutely sure that what someone has just said to you is completely wrong. However calling them out on it can come across as insensitive and cause embarrassment. A softer approach can be, Here’s why I disagree. What do you think?
You should have
Finger pointing only leads to bad feelings all around. The recipient of your admonishment feels terrible and you feel like a jerk for doing it. Instead find a constructive way of clarifying the situation. That didn’t work. Next time I suggest you…
I might be wrong about this, but
Even if you are not entirely confident about what you are going to say there’s no reason to cast a negative cloud over it right off the bat. Give the idea or statement space to stand on its own without editorializing. Here’s something we could try
I have no time for this right now
Most of us feel like we could use an extra two or three hours everyday. Don’t talk about what can’t be done, frame it in regards to what can be done. I will be able to do this by…