Don’t worry this post is in fact safe for work and has nothing to do with the classic George Carlin bit.
Instead it has to do with setting the right tone with your language. In a recent client sales huddle our group discussed the topic of developing opportunities and having progressive dialogue both internally with our teams and externally with clients and prospect. The CEO of the organization shared an insightful piece from his CEO round table group that outlined “7 Offensive Words.”
The following list shares some language that either can make people uncomfortable or defensive and may be best to steer clear of:
- You: No one likes to have a finger wagged at them and this is the verbal equivalent of just that. Keep the scolding to just your children rather than your colleagues and clients.
- Your: See above.
- Why: This word can be powerful when used appropriately and in the right context. But no one wants to hear it get overly used. You’ll soon get the inevitable answer of; “Because I said so!”
- Always: This can imply a certain amount of rigidity and absolution that you probably don’t truly mean.
- Never: Never is similar to always and should be avoided.
- Should: This implies a look backward and who wants to do that?
- But: When I shared this list with a colleague she admitted that she often thinks about how everything that comes before this “offensive word” is irrelevant. As an example: “I really like what you’re doing, BUT…”
There are exceptions to the rules of course but we thought this was a good list to start with. What else would you add? We thought we’d add one more ourselves…. Try!