While the majority of communication comes from body language and physical cues, spoken communication is also essential in relationships, especially in the workplace.
Yet, too many leaders and business owners are not great communicators. Knowing words or phrases to avoid is just as important as saying the right thing at the right time.
You may be killing your efficiency and clarity by using words that are counterproductive to great communication.
Cutting the following words out of your vocabulary will reduce workplace miscommunication and improve relationships.
“Maybe” is a lukewarm answer and often used to get out of difficult questions. Sometimes it’s better just to say, “I don’t know” or ask for suggestions.
“Maybe” indicates lack of uncertainty, yet no desire to find a resolution. You run the risk of being misunderstood or having your opinion disregarded due to indecision.
We all have time constraints in the workplace, but demanding something from somebody now, incites fear rather than motivation.
That’s not to say you can’t implement deadlines or timelines, but putting others in a feeling of panic will not result in the outcome you desire.
If you often find yourself asking for things to be done now, consider if you need to focus more on proactive planning or time management.
Great communicators and leaders understand the importance of giving others the time they need to get things done and be effective.
A powerfully negative word, “demand” implies a particular inequality between two parties, specifically leadership and their teams.
It can also be somewhat disrespectful, as the “demander” shows a lack of respect for the other person’s time or availability. Leaders that are prone to making demands will often suffer from disjointed teams.
“Perhaps” causes a sentence to lose directive; everything because hypothetical rather than concrete and clear.
Leaders prone to using “perhaps” often do not get the results they want because they are not specific enough.
This can also be frustrating for teams, as they don’t know what is expected of them or how to measure results.
“Bad” is simply a negative word without any specificity. If you tell someone an idea is “bad,” it doesn’t indicate as to why it is unfavorable.
It also doesn’t give any helpful information for what a more ideal scenario might be or opportunity for improvement.
Instead of using the word “bad,” consider the reasons why it is so then come up with an alternative, more specific explanation, such as inefficient, costly, disorganized, etc.
Being more specific in your feedback, even if it is negative will increase the likelihood or more positive results.
There will certainly be times when you have to say no, but how often do you quickly jump to “no” without giving it a second thought. If you can’t say yes, consider a compromise, middle ground.
Consistently turning people down without explanation, conversation or collaboration will inevitably lead to be ceasing to ask for your input, support or advice. Being a “no man” can weaken relationships.
You will inevitably mince your words or choose less than ideal wording, but the important thing is to be aware and conscious of your word choice and how it affects others.