Climb the Ladder

Four Common (But Unprofessional) Speaking Habits You Want to Ditch

Because you want to be taken seriously at work

Work environments have become less formal and are increasingly more casual. Executives are wearing jeans to work, fridges are stocked with craft beers and many professionals aren’t even working in traditional offices.

Combine this with the fact that we’re all spending more time with coworkers than anyone else in our lives, it’s only natural that we start to get very comfortable with them, turning colleagues into little office families.

However, when you’re first starting your career, it may be difficult to find that happy medium between new age professionalism and improper behavior.

Next time you’re headed to a meeting review these tips, watch what you say and ditch these common unprofessional speaking habits.

Like, Um, I mean….


This one is no surprise, but it’s still something many of us struggle with. Just get to the point. Using filler words such as “like” and “um” make you sound unsure of yourself and/or that you’re trying to stall. If you know you get nervous speaking in public or in meetings with your manager, prepare yourself. Review your notes, take a deep breath and be confident in the information you’re about to share.

Self-Deprecating “Jokes”


So many of us make jokes at our own expense. Whether it’s jokingly referring to yourself as stupid, or pointing out your clumsiness, we tend to participate in this self-deprecating humor. However, when you’re in the office you want to appear—even if you don’t feel it—100% confident. So the next time you’re about to refer to yourself as an idiot to your boss, don’t. You’re not an idiot, and you don’t want your boss to think you’re one either.

Text Message Language


We’re not saying you can’t ever throw out a “LOL” at the office, but for the most part, when you’re speaking with your co-workers (especially your superiors) leave colloquial language and text message-worthy abbreviations out of the conversation. For starters, everyone might not know what phrases like “FOMO” stand for, and more importantly, it makes you sound immature and unprofessional.

Constantly Dropping the F-Bomb


We’re all adults here, and we get that especially in creative environments curse words will be thrown around in conversations. However, there’s a difference between using the occasional four-letter word, and using f*ck in every other sentence. Dropping too many swear words can make you seem unprofessional and even a little unrefined. The next time you’re about to curse, consider if it’s really necessary in any given conversation (pro tip: it’s usually not).

What else makes you look unprofessional? Poor writing and grammar skills. Check out our Grammar and Punctuation online course to get a refresher on the rules so you can impress online as well as off. 

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