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Careful not to blurt out these blunders

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in Workplace Communication

You may make oral blunders without even realizing it.

“When working with other people, we always want to put our best forward,” says Susan Mason, a principal with Vital Visions Consultants. “But there are three verbal blunders that are real problems for many of us, that keep us from exuding confidence.”

Stay away from Mason’s three oral “don’ts”:

1. “OK?” questions. Ending sentences with those questions may make it sound as if you’re collaborative, but actually, it just makes you sound indecisive. Examples: “I’d like you to start that right away … OK?” “This is a good idea … isn’t it?”

Tip: Instead of “This is a good idea, isn’t it?” say, “This is a good idea. What’s your opinion?”

2. Disclaimers, such as, “Of course, I don’t know much about this process, but … .” Disclaimers make you sound as though you don’t believe in your own ideas. Mason’s advice? Put your ideas out there assertively.

Tip: Say “Based on my experience, I believe … .” instead of “I hope you don’t think I’m being unreasonable, but … .”

3. Hedges. “Maybe,” “perhaps” and “you know” come across as indecisive and wishy-washy. Example: “Perhaps you could come into my office and discuss your concerns” implies that it’s optional. Instead, say, “Please come into my office, and let’s talk about your concerns.”


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