Speaking Professionally
In Standing Out, Taking Initiative By stacymorgan

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Little word substitutions for big impact…

Speaking like a seasoned professional makes your coworkers, boss and clients take you seriously.  You don’t need to be a master linguist to speak professionally.  Just a few simple word substitutions can make all the difference.  

·         Collaborate - Use this instead of work together.  “I would like to collaborate with John on this project,” comes across as professional speak.


·         Please Advise - A stand-alone sentence often used at work.  Suitable for emails.  Stands in for, “what should I do?” or the super unprofessional, “????”.  Remember, it’s just as important to talk like a professional within email communications.


·         Clarification - “What do I do?,” will have co workers rolling their eyes at your ineptness.  Try starting out a question with, “just to clarify…,” to avoid looking like someone who just doesn’t get it.  For example, “just to clarify, the report needs this, this, and that, correct?”


·         Internal - Use this term when referring to anything that needs to remain as information within your company.  As in, “confidentiality is key when dealing with internal records.”


·         Implement - Bosses absolutely love “implement”.  Implement means to, “put into action.”  As in, “I would like to implement a few quality control steps.” (Bonus: bosses also love “quality control”).


·         Objective – Use this term instead of “goal.”  As in, “the objective of the sales call was to procure new business leads.”


·         Unacceptable - While not a strictly professional term, you will be shocked how far this little bomb goes when dealing with unfavorable results.  People can argue with “not good” or “needs to be improved”, but “unacceptable” is final and indisputable.  Use it when a little hardball is necessary. “These figures are unacceptable”.  It’s kind of fun too…unless you’re on the receiving end of that of course.


·         The Bottom Line - The bottom line is a polite way of referring to a company’s need for profit.  Try dropping it with vendors to come across as an in-the-know professional.  “The company won’t pay for it,” sounds cheap.  Rather, “I have to keep our bottom line in mind,” more so implies what you mean without sounding sophomoric.  

Learning to talk like a professional means carefully crafting sentences for maximum impact.  Using these substitutions and picking up on industry specific lingo will have you speaking like a seasoned professional in no time.

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