Use these high-wattage words on the job to convey an image of professionalism and control.
by Lauren Westbrook
Most of these I picked up by observing other people who sound smart and seem really well put-together in meetings, presentations or group discussions. I keep a page in my notebook specifically for them and review them so that I can include them in my own verbal arsenal:
- When you find yourself getting ahead of yourself, instead of getting flustered or leaving out key details, pause and say: “Let me take a step back…”
- After you’ve given a presentation or offered your perspective or recommendation, say: “I’d love your feedback” or “I’d love to get feedback from the group.”
- When you have no idea what you’re supposed to do, or what (out of the millions of things on your plate) you’re supposed to do first, ask your manager: “What are our key priorities?” or “How should I prioritize the following X things that you need me to get accomplished?”
- When you’re confused, forgot to write something down or can’t read your own notes/handwriting, say: “I just wanted to get some further clarification on what I heard/we discussed earlier…”
- When something is important, key or priority, use the phrase “front-of-mind.” (For instance: “Given the difficult economy, all employees should make finding ways to cut expenses front-of-mind.”)
- When something is impactful, specifically an ad/image/visual element, use the phrases “arresting” and “stopping power” (For instance: “The image we’re using in the presentation is particularly arresting—it really has stopping power.”)
- When you really like something, use the phrase “heart for.” (For instance: “Although I like both ads, I have the most heart for the one on the left because…”)
- When something is full, detailed or comprehensive, especially a schedule or conversation, use the word “robust.” (For instance: “We had a very robust discussion about our 2009 go-to-market strategy.”)
What words and phrases have you picked up to help you sound smooth, sophisticated or just plain smart?