It's still a couple of months away from Halloween, but there's a good chance you have your co-workers running scared already. That is, if you use four specific, common words in your everyday interactions with them.
Sara McCord, writing on career resource website The Muse, says that these four words may be hindering your ability to communicate effectively with your fellow workers, and she suggests we use them a little less often to get things done.
So what are these words?
"It's shorthand for 'so close, and yet, so screwed,'" writes McCord. If you start with a positive, that only leads into the "except bomb," she added. "You instantly start preparing for disaster."
Solution: Start out with what needs fixing so you don't lob any surprises.
Coming to your co-workers with problems all the time will signal to them that you have too much on your plate and can't be open to new opportunities. So ditch "problem," along with related problematic words "situation," "emergency" and "issue."
Solution: Talk about what you're working on, obstacles you're facing and where you can use feedback.
Real urgency requires a phone call or in-person visit, not an email flagged as such. Also, McCord writes, it can sound like the boy who cried wolf. Use "urgent" too much and things stop seeming all that important because everything is urgent, urgent, urgent!
Solution: Go with "Today" in an email headline instead to get what you want done in a timely fashion.
This word spurs people into action since it's a command. If you want someone's attention immediately, use this word. Otherwise, dial it down a bit.
Solution: Try asking if the co-worker has a moment or if it's a good time to chat instead.
"If you manage to use focused, even language, you'll be seen as someone who always has solutions (not problems)," McCord says.