3 seemingly innocent phrases that cause drama in the workplace

Even when your intentions are good, the wrong statement can turn a minor issue into a full-blown problem. Avoid these three phrases:

“I’m sorry this is late.” Instead, say “Thank you for your patience.” It’s always ideal to keep things positive. Plus, your co-workers may be more receptive if you show gratitude and don’t make excuses. If they bring up you’re late, go ahead and apologize.

“It’s soooooo easy.” Something’s that easy for you may not be for someone else. Don’t make others feel incompetent. Instead, say “Let me walk you through it.”

“I don’t know.” Sometimes you won’t know, but don’t leave it at that. Say: “I don’t know, but I bet so-and-so does” or “I’m not sure, but you can find that information by …” Or if you should know the answer, say “I don’t know it off the top of my head, but let me find out.” Tone is important, too, so be polite.

— Adapted from “What Not to Say in Work Emails,” Brandon Specktor, Reader’s Digest, www.rd.com.

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