6 Words You Need to Stop Using in Your Work Vocabulary

Are you aware that the language you use could be affecting how you are perceived at work?

These habits and behaviours, however unconscious, can be stopping you from getting what you want and affecting you relationships. You may be coming across very nice but possibly not strong enough to be making the impression you want to.

To ensure you’re being perceived in the way you would like, begin eliminating these words from your vocabulary.

Just. This word is used to as a softener, usually when chasing someone for an answer or finish a task. It detracts from you credibility and confidence and puts you in the weaker position. Instead of sending an email that begins with “Just wanted to check in…” say “I’m checking in on X, Y and Z.”

Hopefully. Commonly used when you don’t want to commit to promising an outcome. To give the perception of self assurance, focus on delivering. Instead of “Hopefully, we’ll hear back about this by Monday,” say “I asked for an answer by Monday morning, and if I don’t hear back, I will follow up.”

Afraid. The literal meaning of this word is reason enough not to use it. You might feel like you’re being polite, but you are automatically giving the impression that you are the less important person in the conversation “I’m afraid I can’t make 2pm” should be “I can’t make 2pm” with no need to explain. Simple.

Sorry. How familiar does this sound – “Sorry, Wednesday doesn’t work for me.” Women are the most frequent culprits in the overuse of this word, but everyone should stop apologising for anything they’re not really sorry for. Offer a solution or counterpoint: “Wednesday is booked for me. Are you available Y or Z?” – and save the apologies for when you mean them.

Honestly. We tend to use honestly to add emphasis. The problem is, the minute you tell your audience this particular statement is honest, you’ve implied the rest of your words were not.

Maybe. This makes you sound uninformed, unsure of the facts you’re presenting. Regardless of the topic, do the legwork, be sure, write an informed piece. The only thing you communicate when you include these words is uncertainty.

By starting to be aware of your language and how it comes across will help you build your self worth and boost your confidence. 

This is one important part of having enough resilience at work to be successful and happy. If you want to find out what the other parts are - so you no longer feel like you have to prove yourself to others - drop me a line and let's jump on a call. 

Much love,


louise dockery