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10 Speaking Habits Millennials Should Kick To Sound More Professional At Work

10 Speaking Habits Millennials Should Kick To Sound More Professional At Work

Are you a millennial, or do you work alongside millennials? Many millennials are extremely hardworking, intelligent individuals who will improve and advance the companies they work for. Yet, there can be differences between the older professionals and the millennials.

Check out 10 speaking habits that millennials should kick so that they can sound more professional while they are at work.

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1. Using slang instead of writing ‘yes’

It is important to remain professional at work, whether the communication is in person or via email. Many millennials would never consider spelling a word incorrectly normally, but use other versions of the word ‘yes’ regularly, such as ‘yep’, ‘yup’ and ‘ya’. All of these abbreviations come across as lazy, unprofessional and over familiar – and it doesn’t take long to type the correct word.

2. Overusing the word ‘like’

‘Like’ has become an extremely popular slang word with millennials, used in virtually every sentence to replace ‘err’ or ‘umm’. In a work environment it is important to sound professional and interested, and using ‘like’ unnecessarily and repeatedly will make millennials seem unfocused and unprofessional. If you cannot get rid of like that easily, try cutting it out of your vocabulary completely first.

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3. Putting their own preferences in front of the company’s goals

Outside of work it is normal to have personal goals and dreams, but when someone is at work it is important for them to focus on goals of the company. Saying things like “I think my time would be spent better if I did this” will make it seem like they have prioritized their own preferences over the goals of the company.

4. Overusing the word ‘literally’

Literally has become an increasingly popular word with millennials in recent years. Often the word adds nothing to the sentence, so many people try to avoid over-using it at work as it may make it seem like they have a poor vocabulary. Saying literally means “this actually happened” so adding this word to your speech should only occur when you are relaying the events of something that actually occurred.

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5. Non-committedly agreeing with peers

No one wants to sound disinterested at work, but many millennials do so without even realizing. If you and are peer are talking, the best way to seem interested is to ask follow-up questions about what they were saying. Agreeing is also totally fine, but saying ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ often seems like you are trying to hurry the other person up so you can start speaking, which makes it seem like they are not interested in what the other person is saying.

6. Using unprofessional slang

Many millennials refer to their boss as ‘dude’ or ‘man’, which is extremely unprofessional and over-familiar. While it is totally fine to use it in informal settings it should never be used at work. There are many other ways you can create a bond with your boss – this is more likely to push them away.

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7. Oversharing with your work colleagues

Millennials are often hardworking and accomplished individuals but they often share stories at work that put them in a bad light, thinking it will help them to bond with their co-workers. Swapping oversharing for telling work-friendly stories that highlight their best traits is often a great career move.

8. Using poor excuses

There are bad excuses and good excuses in the world of work. If someone tried to do everything they could to make it on time to work and they were still late, it isn’t their fault – but if they prioritized other things over work, it is their fault. For instance, if someone is late to work because their apartment flooded, then it is very unlikely that they will be reprimanded. However, if they are late to work because their spin class ran over, then they could end up getting in serious trouble at work.

9. Raising their voice at the end of a statement

Raising your voice at the end of end of a sentence makes it sound like you are unsure if you are right or not. At work, it is useful for people to focus on lowering their voice at the end of sentences, as that makes them sound more professional and it solidifies their points.

10. Talking too quickly

Just like anyone who is young at a company, millennials want to prove themselves. They often speak very quickly so they can say everything they want to without speaking for too long, but it would be beneficial to slow down. The more status someone allows themselves, the more respect people will give to them.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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