Your words have a huge impact on your level of credibility and likeability at work.
Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results,” recently told Business Insider that if you want to make a great impression on those around you, and influence people to see things your way, you need to “deliberately choose to speak words that are empowering to others and avoid words that are jeopardizing to your message and credibility.”
One of those words: “Fine.”
She says there’s only one situation in which speaking the “other four-letter F word” is acceptable. “It’s a useful, descriptive adjective when (and only when) you want to express superior quality or the highest grade, such as a ‘fine wine’ or ‘fine dining,’” she says. Otherwise, she suggests removing it from your workplace vocabulary.
When you’re answering questions like, “How are you?” “How’s the project going?” or “How is our new employee performing?” one of the worst possible responses is “fine.”
“When you’re describing a state of being or your emotions, the word ‘fine’ is vague, overused, and colloquial — the word may even be perceived by others as dishonest and dismissive,” warns Price.
She says people often reply with the word “fine” in less-than-satisfactory situations just to avoid confrontation. “That’s why the Urban Dictionary defines ‘I’m fine’ as ‘the most told lie in the English language.'”
To be credible and convincing as a professional, she says you need to choose another word to “honestly communicate the true state of affairs.”
When someone asks how you are, or how your day is going, respond with something along the lines of: “Wonderful, thank you!” or, “Very well. How about you(rs)?” When a coworker or boss asks how a project is coming along, try: “On time and under budget! May I give you a quick update?” And if they inquire about how the new hire is doing, say something like: “She is doing a superb job — she’s great with people and a real expert in her field.”
“I’m fine,” “It’s fine,” or “She’s fine” just won’t cut it.
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