It can be easy to fall back on jargon or catchphrases that you hear often in the office or on television. Some people even use them consciously to make themselves appear more relatable or trendy. However, doing so may do more harm than good, whether you are on the construction site or in the office. Many times, relying too heavily on overused expressions can make you seem uninformed, uncaring, or simply unprofessional.

 How often have you heard someone say, “Let’s circle back on this.” Or, “I’ll ping you in the next day or two.”? These types of statements can be confusing to those who are not familiar with these phrases. This is particularly true if you work with people who speak other languages, which can be common in the construction industry. Be direct: when exactly can the other person expect to hear back from you, how will you be reaching out, and what should they expect to receive at that time? Clarity in communication is more important than lingo.

 In the same respect, flippant replies or clichés can also give the wrong impression. Overly casual responses, such as “no problem,” “sure,” “fine,” or “yeah,” can convey that you may just be trying to appease the other person, or worse, that you were not truly listening. Clichés, such as “it is what it is,” are meaningless and can come across as uncaring. Using these types of phrases will not instill trust in you or your ability to deliver on a job.

 Even though it should go without saying, the use of profanity in both professional casual conversations should be avoided. Those who speak with heavy profanity are typically regarded as unintelligent, unprofessional, rude, or just plain angry. These are not qualities that employers or clients are looking for! Even phrases that are not direct profanity, such as “pissed off,” can have the same effect.

 Finally, try to steer away from the use of negative words or words and phrases that do not demonstrate confidence. Instead of saying that “I will not be able to get to that until Tuesday”, flip the statement to a positive by saying “I can have that to you on Tuesday.” By speaking in affirmatives, and using language that sets clear expectations, you can help your colleagues and peers know what to expect and you will come across as more dependable.

 The fine art of effective communication involves understanding when certain phrases and expressions should be used and when they should be avoided. Keep flippant replies and clichés out of the workplace, and only use in casual conversations with friends and family. Use of jargon in professional settings may cause misunderstandings that end up hurting your work or credibility. Profanity and negative words should be avoided at all costs.

 Effective management of expectations starts with clear and direct language. All too often we find ourselves or others using generic business jargon that can lead to more questions than answers. Become a master of communication by following clear and simple language guidelines.


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