Avoid Saying These Things If You Want To Be Taken Seriously

Avoid Saying These Things If You Want To Be Taken Seriously
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A list of things you should avoid saying if you want to keep your credibility and be taken seriously.

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There are a variety of ways to lose your ability to be taken seriously, why allow your poor vocabulary to be one of them? Here is a list of top words and phrases you'll want to avoid in conversations, articles, blog posts, and social media posts to help you sound less ignorant.

Um & Uh

It's easy to get involved in a conversation where you're talking faster than your brain can turns your thoughts into actual words that you speak. When that happens, rather than a quiet pause, people tend to say "um" or "uh" as their brain catches up. It takes practice to stop using these fillers but the first step is knowing when you're using them! Once you realize how often you use them it will be easier to train yourself to stop.

To Be Honest

Pretty sure we've all used this one at some point. "Well Mr. Customer, to be honest with you, I can knock 50% off that vehicle undercoating price if you buy today." See how slimy it sounds? Even when the conversation topic is on something more honest than vehicle undercoating, just mentioning honesty in any form implies that everything else you say isn't honest.

No Problem

First up, this is a double negative. And why would you want to be negative at all when you're really just meaning to say "you're welcome"? Second, the words "no problem" imply that whatever you did for the other person has so little value that you're actually insulting the other person. You might as well tell them you'd just as soon spit on them as help them again.

Not A Bad Idea

When somebody has an idea that's good, why would you use the word "bad" to describe it? If the idea is good then tell them "that's a good idea" (or a great idea!). Give credit to a good idea properly, or truly call it out as a bad idea if it is, but avoid this half-way measure of good vs bad.

I Mean

"I mean, the best way to finish this job is with..." First off, it feels like the person speaking is stalling a bit. Second, whatever you plan to say is what you actually mean, you don't need to preface it with the words "I mean" as well.


I saw a LinkedIn profile where the user talked about his "passion" for "big data" (of all things!). Passion? Really? Are we still using that one? It feels like such a forced buzz word. It's great to write and speak with passion, but you don't have to tell us that you "have a passion" for something. Your speaking and writing alone will show me that you do (or don't) have a passion for the topic.

I See

Replying in a conversation with "I see" can often sound like you're really saying "I understand the words coming out of your mouth but completely disagree with them". Avoid using it. If you don't agree with what somebody says then say so rather than pussyfooting around the issue.


Every try to squeeze by somebody and say "sorry" when what you really mean is "excuse me"? The polite way to ask somebody to let you by or to get out of your way is to simply say "excuse me" so say that instead.

It's Our Policy

There are fewer ways to piss off a customer than to tell them what your policy is. Nothing says "I don't care about your problem" more than "it's our policy". Screw your policy and the computer screen it's written on. I have a problem, you need to own it and help me sort it out.


Covering your ass. We've somehow moved into a world where we all need to cover our own asses out of fear. Fear of getting in trouble. Fear of a lawsuit. Fear of losing a job. So we tend to say things like "This isn't my department, but...", "I'm not an expert in this field, but...", "Full disclosure, I may vote Trump and probably can't be trusted but here's how to rewire your home" and on and on. Got something to say? Then just say it without the legalese.

In My Honest Opinion

Blame the Internet and it's love of making everything an acronym for this one. Prefacing a sentence with "in my opinion" and it's variants is beyond unnecessary because pretty much all words coming out of your mouth are your opinion (honest or not).

1337 Speak

Or, as it's also called, Leet Speak. This is when you use coded words like "pwn" for "own", "h4x0r" for "hacker" , "leet" for "elite", and even "1337" for "leet" because you're THAT elite! But lumped into these are other Internet slang and acronyms like LOL. Instead, use your words and spelling things out properly. Use your spell and grammar checker as well, because, you know, you're actually edumacated!