Words matter, especially in the workplace—what you say can affect not only your credibility but also your relationships.  

Here are some negative phrases you might want to avoid saying at work—including what you can say instead: 

1. Instead of saying: "I don't know" 

Try saying: "Let me get back to you" 

This way, you can provide credible answers, too. 


2. Instead of saying: "I think" 

Try saying: "I believe" 

Constantly using the phrase "I think" tends to make you sound unsure and less believable. (Here are five words to avoid using if you want to sound more confident when speaking.)

3. Instead of saying: "You should have..." 

Try saying: "Next time..." or "Moving forward..."

As Forbes notes, saying the phrase "you should have..." at work tends to inflict feelings of blame. Make a conversation more productive by saying, "next time..." or "moving forward..." 

4. Instead of saying: "Sorry for..."

Try saying: "Thank you for..." 

Apologize if you must. However, be careful not to overuse the word "sorry."

"It's important to take responsibility and apologize from time to time, but some of us do it way too often," Alayna Frankenberry, manager of inbound marketing for BlueSky ETO, tells Fast Company. "Constantly apologizing... waters down your voice and can lead to a lack of respect from colleagues." 

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Instead of saying "sorry," why not express your gratitude? For instance, if it took you a while to respond to an email, you can simply say, "Thank you for your patience," instead of saying, "Sorry for the late reply." 

If you've spent a lot of time with someone, you can also say, "Thank you for your time," instead of saying, "Sorry for taking up all your time." 

Additionally, if someone pointed out a minor mistake you've made, you can say, "Thank you for spotting that." No one is perfect, after all. 


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