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7 Phrases You Need To Stop Saying To Propel Your Career

Here’s how to nail that performance review…

Could your vocab in the office be holding you back in your career? Apparently so, according to career coach Melody Wilding.

‘At work as in relationships, it all starts with conveying confidence,’ Melody writes on Forbes. ‘But a challenge many high-achieving women run up against are bad speech habits that have been conditioned in us over the years.’ Melody adds: ‘Without us even knowing it, these verbal crutches can damage our internal and projected confidence levels and can even negatively impact how we’re perceived at work.’

So to land that promotion, here’s the jargon we should ban ASAP to get ahead…


‘This word minimizes the power of your statements and can make you seem defensive or even apologetic,’ according to Melody. For example if you use phrases like, “I just wanted to see if you could help me with…”is less stronger and direct than say “Sorry I know you’re busy, could you help me with…”

2.“I’m no expert, but…”

‘Women often preface their ideas with qualifiers such as, “I’m not sure what you think, but…’ Melody writes. ‘This speech habit typically crops up because we want to avoid sounding pushy or arrogant, or we fear being wrong. The problem is, using qualifiers can negate the credibility of your statements.’

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3.“I can’t”

Seems obvious, but saying you ‘can’t’ do something automatically portrays that you’re not able to. When, in reality, you just may not want to. Or your too busy, and scared that your work load is going to grow and grow and grow some more. According to Melody, instead ‘saying you "won't" do something is active. It shows that you create your own boundaries.’

4.“What if we tried...?"

We’ve all been there - you’re in a meeting with colleagues and you’ve got a grand idea you want to voice. Not wanting to sound like The Big Office Know It All, we can often revert to the classic tactic of "I’m not sure what you think, but I think this would be beneficial for the company for X Y and Z reasons…". Melody reinforces that no one is going to fire you for airing an idea at work.

5.“That is like, so great!"

Enthusiasm is one thing. But Cher Horowitz-isms at work are a big no-no, as Melody says in the end this can ‘distract your audience from what you’re saying.’ Noted.

6.“Thanks!. :)"

So you’ve settled into your new role, and a few months in you seem to be getting along with your boss swimmingly – hurrah! But don’t let your email etiquette slide i.e. start peppering your messages with 5 exclamation marks and dancing girl emojis to colleagues or clients. ‘It’s preemptive “peace keeping,”' according to Melody. ‘We’re trying to ensure our message has been positively received (a false guarantee that’s entirely out of our control).’

7.“Am I Making Sense?”

'By periodically asking, “does that make sense?” or “am I explaining this alright?” you open up the possibility for your audience to wonder whether, in fact, you are,' Melody says.

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