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Speaking Skills

Be More Professional - Don't Say This at Work!

9 min
Average Score

Keenyn Rhodes

Owner, Clear English Corner

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Are your words empowering or undermining your professional image? In the realm of sales, where confidence and trust are paramount, every phrase matters. According to recent statistics, effective communication can significantly impact how clients perceive you, influencing their decisions and building lasting relationships.

The Power of Language in Sales

Words hold immense power, shaping perceptions of strength, certainty, and trustworthiness. In a session by Kenan, an American English pronunciation coach, he highlighted ten phrases to avoid in a professional setting, offering alternative expressions to convey confidence and professionalism.

1. "Is That Okay?" - The Confidence Killer

Starting your sentences with "Is that okay?" might inadvertently signal uncertainty. For sales reps, projecting confidence is crucial. Instead, consider phrases like "Is that what you had in mind?" to verify without compromising your authority.

2. "You're Wrong" - Navigating Disagreements

Disagreements are inevitable, but stating "You're wrong" can lead to negative outcomes. Instead, try "I disagree, and here's why." This invites open discussion and promotes a collaborative approach to problem-solving.

3. "No Offense, But..." - Navigating Delicate Topics

The phrase "No offense, but..." often precedes offensive remarks. It's best to refrain from using it altogether. If a delicate topic must be addressed, approach it with sensitivity and tact without the need for a defensive preamble.

4. "I Don't Know" - Embracing the Unknown

Admitting you don't know everything is okay. However, a simple "I don't know" can convey a lack of initiative. Instead, say "I don't know, but I'll find out," demonstrating a proactive approach to seeking solutions.

5. "He/She Works for Me" - Fostering Inclusivity

Avoid phrases that imply hierarchy, like "He/She works for me." Opt for inclusive language such as "We work together," promoting a collaborative and team-oriented environment.

6. "I Hate to Bother You, But..." - Assertive Inquiry

Initiating conversations with a submissive tone isn't necessary. Instead, use phrases like "Excuse me, do you have a few minutes?" or "When you have a moment, let's discuss," asserting your competence while maintaining politeness.

7. "I Hope to Hear from You Soon" - Projecting Confidence

Ending messages with a hopeful tone can inadvertently convey doubt. Instead, express confidence in the continuation of the conversation, saying, "I look forward to discussing the next steps" or "I look forward to hearing from you soon."

8. "I Believe/I Think/I Feel" - Speaking with Certainty

Avoid diluting your statements with qualifiers. Instead of saying, "I think I can be a great asset," confidently state, "I can be a great asset to your company." Eliminating uncertainty enhances your professional image.

9. "Someone Told Me to Do It" - Taking Responsibility

Blaming others for mistakes undermines your credibility. Acknowledge the mistake and outline the steps to address it. For instance, "I've made a mistake, and here are the steps we're taking to make it right."

10. "This Might Sound Silly, But..." - Presenting Ideas with Impact

Opening statements with self-doubt diminish the impact of your ideas. Instead, confidently present your suggestions with phrases like "Here's an idea" or "I have a suggestion."

In a competitive sales environment, mastering confident communication is a continuous process. By incorporating these language adjustments, sales reps can enhance their professional image, build trust with clients, and navigate challenging conversations with poise.

Watch Kenan's session on confident communication to delve deeper into refining your language and presentation skills. Discover how subtle changes in your choice of words can elevate your sales game. Remember, every word matters in the journey toward becoming a more confident and effective sales professional.

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