Clear communication within you company is paramount to removing ambiguity, and to ensuring that everyone shares the same message and believes in your vison. This is a two-step process; words (communication) followed by action. Your words must convey a clear and precise message that cannot be misinterpreted in order to remove any potential confusion when your team’s actions are implemented. With that in mind, I have provided below a list of a few words/phrases that every professional should remove from their vocabulary when interacting with other team members (and in their personal life):

  • Trust me/Take my word – Trust is earned not bestowed upon you! If there is a history of a trusting relationship, uttering the words “trust me” won’t provide any additional value and if the level of trust doesn’t exist, the words will never be sufficient to establish it.
  • To be honest – Does this mean that you were not honest before making this statement?
  • Don’t take this the wrong way – You clearly have just delivered a message that is not complimentary to the other person. If you wanted to send a different message, you should have said something else instead!
  • What’s in it for me? – Team work will not be always to your benefit! Sometimes you do things for the greater good of the other people on the team and for the overall success.
  • Having said that – Are you planning to modify the message that you have just delivered?
  • It’s not personal, it’s business – If there is a situation in your company that necessitates a painful response why not just state the fact and move on? Sugar coating the message will not make the person impacted feel any better.

Remember the children’s rhyme “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me”. Words may not hurt physically, but words can be highly emotionally damaging to the recipient. It is critically important that you choose your words very carefully and weigh the benefits/consequences before delivering a message in order to minimize the chances that the message is misinterpreted.


Written by

Eli Fathi

Eli has been a technology entrepreneur for the past 30 years and has founded or cofounded a number of companies with a few successful exits. Currently, he is the CEO of a company offering automated fraud detection platform. Eli was the cofounder of Fluidware Corporation, an Internet software company offering Software as a service (SaaS) online applications based on collaborative feedback. He was the co-CEO from inception until the acquisition by SurveyMonkey.

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