Language is not just the product of our thoughts. Our thoughts and our habits are affected by the language we use. Think of the story of how the Eskimos have hundreds of words for “snow.”

So it stands to reason that professional people have better language and thoughts than unprofessional people. Here’s a look at 30 simple phrases which you should never use if you want to be successful at work.

1. Cursing

Using curse words for every situation does not just mark you as vulgar, but as someone who lacks the creativity to come up with a better insult.

2. “We’ve always done it that way.”

The language of those who are incapable or unwilling to think of new and better ways.

3. “I’m not afraid.”

Sometimes, you should be. To master fear is better than to not have it at all.

4. “Yes.” (when you really mean no)

Telling someone you will do something when you have zero intention to do so shows disregard for what other people want.

5. “I’m important!”

As Margaret Thatcher observed: “Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

6. “Are you upset?”

You should not need to ask this question. You should be able to determine other people’s feelings by yourself.

7. “Like.”

It is okay for 15-year olds to use “like” in every sentence. A professional should be confident enough to not stumble over his words.

8. “Literally.”

Similar to the previous one. Using this word to describe anything and everything shows that you don’t know any other, better adverbs.

9. “I thought you were going to do that.”

The words of someone who just assumes responsibilities onto other without communicating.

10. “That’s impossible.”

Bluntly shutting down new ideas without even giving a chance to explain the problems with the idea shows an unwillingness to adapt.

11. “You misunderstood.”

Sometimes there are unfortunate failures of miscommunication. Then you claim to have completely misunderstood the assignment. But this is often frequently used by people who have made a promise and are now trying to back out.

12. “Sorry for being late.”

Punctuality is one of the most important things for any business. If you’re not on time, you show that you don’t care about their time.

13. “Because I’m in charge.”

This does not convince people that you should be in charge, and just incurs resentment and irritation at your high-handed ways.

14. “Sorry.”

Far too many people think that “sorry” is an all-excusing grace for their mistakes. Fix the problem, don’t just say “sorry.”

15. “I’m bored.”

Boredom is a state of mind which you can fix yourself. Find something to do, every profession has something which always needs to be done.

16. “I’m busy.”

You’re supposed to be busy, telling someone this is not going to accomplish anything. It just makes you look insensitive and only focused on your own affairs.

17. One-upping.

No one likes the guy whose response to any story is to try to one-up and talk about something even “better.”

18. “That’s not my fault!”

A professional person should look at a disaster and think about what can be done to fix it, not look for who to deflect the blame on.

19. “I can’t do all of this.”

There’s nothing wrong in admitting that you need help. But be sure that you actually need help, and are not just looking for an excuse to be lazy.

20. Gossiping

You are a professional. You are supposed to do your job, not chat about the latest office intrigue.

21. “Details, details.”

Details are what separate the mediocre from the good, and the good from the great.

22. “I was just following orders.”

Further blame deflection, only now you’re trying to pin the blame on your superiors. That often will not end well.

23. “I have a big plan!”

Anyone can make a plan. It’s execution that matters.

24. “I’ll deal with it later.”

Procrastination is not the mark of a professional. At all.

25. “I know better.”

There is nothing to gain by being condescending. No one will like you, and you look unprofessional in the process.

26. Mumbling

Speaking loudly and clearly is absolutely important for a professional. If you are in the habit of mumbling a lot, here are some tips which can help with that.

27. “Wow, that chick is…”

Go out to the bars if you want to pick up somebody. Don’t do it at your workplace.

28. “That’s not going to happen.”

There are much better ways to phrase refusal in a way which makes you look professional.

29. “I quit/I’m done!”

Sometimes, you have to quit. But shouting it out or being dramatic about it just shows an inability to keep it cool.

30. Saying nothing

Always be willing to speak. If you say nothing, people will make assumptions about you – and they will be often negative.

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