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Irritating Others' Ears

We want people to respect our contribution, and we work hard to do this, but sometimes we undo all our work with an inaccurate word or phrase that undermines our professionalism. Here are some examples, from Mark Wiskup’s The IT Factor.

For example:

“No problem.” It’s an inappropriate answer when someone says “Thank you,” or your manager compliments you on some work you have done. The appropriate response in both situations is “You’re welcome.” “No problem” is the perfect response to calm someone who has apologized for a mistake and you want to reassure him or her that all is well.

“I’m good.” It may be popular jargon but “I’m good” is the proper response when someone asks you how you are feeling or how you are doing, not if you want something.

“Don’t go there.” This phrase has become a replacement for the statement “I don’t want to discuss that subject.” Refrain from this meaningless expression and, instead, pause and explain how you feel about a situation.

“People person.” This is another meaningless phrase. If you have a colleague who knows how to engage others and works well with co-workers, describe him or her as such.

“Certainly.” Used to answer yes and no questions, the word demonstrates positive, enthusiastic interest. Used as an adverb—“We certainly are glad to be here”—the word adds nothing but a healthy dose of insincerity.

“I don’t see why not.” If someone is seeking support on a decision, this reply will be perceived as a dodge. It casts instant doubt on your credibility and trustworthiness.