Employers aren’t just interested in what you say, but also how you say it. When you come across as unprofessional, it can hinder your chances of job advancement, lose support from your colleagues and prevent you from earning recognition you deserve. I recently came across an article that shares five words and phrases that make you look unprofessional, which I’ve listed below:
Just: Trying to downplay the importance of something does nothing but sell yourself short. Never try to minimize your contributions, since it gives you less credit than you deserve. Develop more confidence in what you talk about; don’t say you “just” perform administrative tasks, but rather elaborate on the work you do.
Sorry: Over-apologizing is a major turnoff, and simply makes you appear anxious and fearful. There are instances where you will need to be held accountable and apologize, but you don’t need to say sorry every time you make a small mistake or express an opinion. When you do need to say sorry for a big issue, instead say “I apologize”, which makes it sound like you’re expressing genuine regret.
Ummm: Verbal stumbling, easy as it is to do, diminishes your credibility. Most of us don’t know we’re even doing it, so it’s an easy mistake to make. They’re bound to show up every once in a while, but you’ll make yourself appear unprepared and unsure if it gets repetitive. If you want to gain some self-awareness, record a conference call or presentation and see where you stumble.
Profanity: Profanity is meant as an exclamation for when you bump your head, not for conversational use at the office. Profanity is used for when we’re emotional. You might experience some intense emotions in the workplace or in an interview, but avoid profanity. Remain calm, and articulate the information you hope to convey. You’ll often be able to do it without any f-bombs.
Literally: This is literally one of the most overused and improperly used filler words. It doesn’t improve the power of any point, so avoid it. “Literally” becomes hyperbolic, since it’s intended to emphasize something surprising, but often does not. Only use this word if you’re clarifying something that actually happened exactly as you’re describing it.