Never Use These Words in Management

People always remember words. Words that hurt, falter, deceive, enrage, motivate and words that suck the very life out of any event or set of circumstances.

There are many different ways of examining how words function but a simple adage (nice word!) would be to practice the following guidelines.

Always remember poorly chosen words will always shape your career progress and make people think of you in ways that you would sometimes prefer that they didn’t! Careers have fallen by the wayside as a result of some hasty and ill-conceived words that were never meant to be said.

Rule 1 – “But”

This should only to be used when you are disagreeing with a point of view.  This automatically sends a negative tone and effectively dampens the otherwise positive message that is being put across.

“I can let you have the component for £500 but delivery will take three months”. That is a poor message and if the component is needed in two months the Order has been lost.

“Our product is fast, easy, and affordable, but … we don’t have any units in stock until December.” In this case, the word ‘but’ creates a negative that did not exist before.

A more positive approach is to replace the “but” with “and”: “Our product is fast, easy, and affordable, and we’ll have units available in December.

Rule 2 – “Fine”

The word “fine” is a useful, descriptive adjective when you want to express superior quality or the highest grade, such as a “fine wine” or “fine dining.”

It is not the word to use when answering questions such as, “How are you?” “How’s the project going?” or “How is our new employee Sue performing?”

Fine is not a word to use when giving an opinion or discussing how you feel about a topic.  It carries a real risk that the recipient will consider you to be possibly dishonest and dismissive at worst and uncertain and vague at best.

Fine can mean a whole range of things even just to one person.

When asked a tricky question such as “How’s the project coming along?” a good response would be “On time and under budget! May I give you a quick update?”

Rule 3 – “Try.”

Another dangerous word! For example when given the following question NEVER use the Try word!

“I need your proposal by 10 a.m. tomorrow for the meeting” should never get the response of “I’ll try to get it finished”. ‘The word ‘try’ implies the possibility it may not get finished.

Nobody will ever want to hear that as it almost certainly guarantees failure. More importantly however is that the word conveys a lack of confidence on your part and creates doubt and uncertainty in the mind of the other person which you will have to work incredibly hard to change.

Good Luck!