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“We shouldn't have to put up with this”: keep that on the low for now

“We shouldn't have to put up with this”: keep that on the low for now
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Sometimes, things sound perfectly fine in your head but don’t go over well once you surrender them to the ear space of an entire conference room. These tips, by experts, for soon-to-be experts, will help you avoid saying something that might land you in a sticky situation at work.

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Anything in a meeting you wouldn’t want to read in print

Anything in a meeting you wouldn’t want to read in print
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“I always advise my clients to talk as if everyone is listening because in today’s world, pretty much everybody is listening.” says Dr Ben Dattner, an organisational psychologist and executive coach. “Whatever you’re saying, ask yourself if would you want to read that attributed to you in the newspaper?” Dattner says. “In general, you should steer clear of making references to religion, politics, or people’s physical appearance, or anything that could be construed as disrespecting somebody, categorising them, or stereotyping them,” says Dattner.

“This is boring”

“This is boring”
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We get it, a lot of the meetings you attend might seem unnecessary, a waste of time, and quite uninspiring to be frank. But don’t ever say that out loud in the meeting or whisper it to a colleague, says Dr Melanie Greenberg, licensed clinical psychologist and author of the Stress-Proof Brain. It could make your boss think you’re not being a team player because you find them boring and think you have better things to do than be in that meeting.

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“You look nice,” to a female colleague (if you wouldn’t say it to a male one)

“You look nice,” to a female colleague (if you wouldn’t say it to a male one)
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You’re better off not commenting on the appearance and weight of colleagues. “You shouldn’t say anything to a woman that you wouldn’t say to a man,” says Dr Greenberg. When you tell a colleague, “You look nice today,” or “Your haircut looks nice,” you have to consider how it might be taken. Does that mean their old haircut looked terrible? Does that mean they normally don’t look nice every day? What was intentioned to be an innocent compliment can get out of hand quickly.

Too many details about your weekend to your boss

Too many details about your weekend to your boss
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Sharing a play-by-play of every bar you visited on your birthday bar crawl with your boss when he asked, “What did you do this weekend?” doesn’t paint an image of a consummate professional. Sharing details of what you did on your personal time could quickly become TMI, says Dr Dattner. When in doubt, sharing less is more here. But remember to thank him for asking and check how his weekend went as well.

“It’s not my fault”

“It’s not my fault”
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When your boss comes to you with a concern they have about your work or a project you contributed to, not taking responsibility is a big no-no. “When you blame other people, are hostile or defensive, and don’t take responsibility, it’s like you’re attacking the other people on your team,” says Dr Greenberg. It makes you sound childish when you blame others for any performance issues or problems. It’s also showing your boss that you’re not listening to her and taking constructive feedback.

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“That’s a dumb idea,” to a client

“That’s a dumb idea,” to a client
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OK, if you have any kind of filter, you probably wouldn’t say this out loud. If you think your client is going to make a mistake or has the wrong perspective, you can make your suggestion to them, but don’t be belligerent about their opinion. “I coach people on how to do customer service training with clients,” says Dr Dattner. “You’ve heard the ‘Our customer is always right’ approach. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gently push back if you think they’re making the wrong decisions or seeing things in the wrong way,” he says. “You certainly shouldn’t say anything to make them feel like you don’t respect them, or that you think they’re making mistakes, or that you don’t respect their capabilities or anything like that,” says Dr Dattner. Ask if you may make a suggestion that you think will be a solution to their problem.

Act like you’re in a reality TV show when you disagree with colleagues

Act like you’re in a reality TV show when you disagree with colleagues
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It can be entertaining (and cringe-inducing) to watch chefs and restaurateurs yell at subordinates, or real estate agents scream at colleagues on reality TV, but those dramatic overreactions have no place in real life. “We should make sure not to mimic what we see in the [entertainment] realm in the workplace. You’re not on Million Dollar Listing,” says Dr Dattner.

Practise these rules of real-world good manners.

Call anyone “hon” or “baby”

Call anyone “hon” or “baby”
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This one is a bit of a grey line, but if you’re at a start-up where everybody’s a millennial and you use the term “girls” to refer to female employees, chances are your colleagues will find that offensive, Dr Dattner says. How you speak and communicate may change in different workplace environments, so make sure you’re careful in different settings with colloquial phrases.

These 11 words and phrases will make you more successful at work.

Treat the mail room staff like personal assistants

Treat the mail room staff like personal assistants
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Never ask mail room staff to run a personal errand for you (like handle your eBay shipping or drop off your tax return), or talk down to them in a demeaning way, says Dr Greenberg. If you’re waiting for an important document to come across your desk or if something was misplaced from your company’s shipping department, don’t take it out on the mail person and have an arrogant attitude with them, she suggests. Treat everyone at the office with respect and don’t ask anyone to do something that isn’t in their job description.

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Reader’s Digest Magazine delayed due to coronavirus
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