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You Mean A Two-Letter Word Can Undermine Your Credibility? As If!

Posted on: July 3rd, 2013 | Category: Employee Relations, Human Resources, Our Blog

zip it before you overuse this word

Zip it before you overuse this word.

Sure, you know the obvious words to avoid using around the office, such as “#$@&%*!” and “!%!&*#~@#!”. But did you know that there’s an overused ordinary word that might subtly be damaging your image at work? We are not talking about a four-letter word (although those kinds can definitely can be damaging, too), but rather a certain two-letter word that can undermine your best efforts as a professional.

The word we are talking about is:


Yep. Plain old little if. It’s a word that can hurt your credibility by making you sound noncommittal, undependable, and even untrustworthy to the people you work with every day. Here’s an excerpt from Surviving the Toxic Workplace (McGraw-Hill, 2010), by Linnda Durre, a psychotherapist, business consultant, and columnist, that explains why overuse of this word can be a problem:

Projects depend on everyone doing his or her part. People who use “if” are usually playing the blame game and betting against themselves. They like to set conditions, rather than assuming a successful outcome. People who rely on conditional responses are fortifying themselves against potential failure. They will say, “If Bob finishes his part, then I can do my part.” They’re laying the groundwork for a “no fault” excuse and for not finishing their work.

There are always alternatives, other routes, and ways to get the job done. Excuse makers usually have the energy of a slug and the spine of a jellyfish. You don’t want them on your team when you’re trying to climb Mt. Everest.

No more excuses!

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