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Six Verbs to Avoid at Work

Instructors: Download the exercise and its key at the end of this post.


What you say and how you say it matters in the workplace. The verbs below can make a speaker sound tentative or weak and should therefore be avoided.

Think               Makes the speaker sound unsure

Need               Infers dependence

Want               Connotes emotion rather than rationality

Guess              Suggests tentativeness or lack of commitment

Hope               Indicates a lack of control over the outcome

Suppose          Shows indifference and a lack of engagement


Change the verbs in the sentences below to show a more confident attitude.

  1. I think we should meet to discuss the allocation of duties to complete this detailed project.
  2. Although I’m working on this project alone, I need your input so I can complete the sales numbers.
  3. I want you to assess the potential benefits of this technology in a written report to me before we think about implementing the technology.
  4. I guess I could complete my portion by next Tuesday.
  5. I sure hope your team will be able to adjust the scale model.
  6. I suppose we could go to the site and check it one more time before we break ground.
  7. I think I could improve the website’s interface to make it more seamless and user friendly.
  8. I need to understand the analytic-driven solutions that will affect hiring.
  9. I want you to rewrite the social media strategy before employees have questions about connecting with customers on Twitter and Facebook.
  10. I guess we could put together a short workshop that helps employees understand the new benefits package.
  11. We hope to make employee referrals part of formal recruitment.
  12. Do you suppose you could complete that online training session by the end of the week?

Answer Key

  1. Let’s meet to discuss the allocation of duties to complete this detailed project.
  2. Although I’m working on this project alone, your input will help me complete the sales numbers.
  3. Please assess the potential benefits of this technology in a written report to me before we think about implementing it.
  4. Of course I can complete my portion by next Tuesday.
  5. It’s crucial to the success of this project for your team to adjust the scale model.
  6. We’ll go to the site and check it one more time before we break ground.
  7. I could improve the website’s interface to make it more seamless and user friendly.
  8. Your knowledge will help me understand the analytic-driven solutions that will affect hiring.
  9. Please rewrite the social media strategy before employees have questions about connecting with customers on Twitter and Facebook.
  10. We could put together a short workshop that helps employees understand the new benefits package.
  11. We will make employee referrals part of formal recruitment.
  12. Online training sessions must be completed by the end of the week.

Six Verbs to Avoid–Exercise

Six Verbs to Avoid at Work-Answer Key

Enjoy Your Summer—Science Says It’s Okay

By the end of the academic year, most of us are counting the days until we can get a little R and R—and it’s no wonder, considering the intellectual, emotional, and physical demands of teaching. Between class prep, administrative duties, needy students, and relentless grading, summer can—and should—be a time to rest, relax, and recover, so that we can recommit to our jobs come fall.

Too often, however, we end up using our summers to catch up on research or writing. We meet with colleagues to compare notes and occasionally grouse when we should actually take vacation time much more seriously.

Science backs this up, and it all has to do with stress. Stress builds up over the course of the year and can be so toxic that it impedes the body’s ability to resist infection. It can even lead to poor digestion, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Sound familiar?

Multiple studies show that vacations ease stress by removing us from the people and environments that cause that stress. Getting away from it all breaks your usual pattern and allows you to rejuvenate yourself. Research indicates that vacationers come home with fewer headaches and backaches. Taking time off even appears to prevent heart disease, heart attacks, and death from a cardiac-related event. Better sleep is yet another result of vacations—because vacations change up our habits, they reset our sleeping patterns, so we sleep better when we return home.

Aside from physical reasons to stop and smell the roses, research shows that taking time off actually improves productivity back at work. Constant working at peak capacity (or close to it) ironically hinders us from doing our best work. The Boston Consulting group found that employees who vacationed were happier as well as more efficient workers than their counterparts who stayed home. Frequent vacationers tend to remain at their jobs longer, too, the researchers found.

One of the problems with vacations, however, is that they often become another source of stress. The following pointers can help your vacation do what it’s supposed to.

  1. Plan ahead. Research your destination so you can choose activities and reserve tickets.
  2. Know laws and regulations. Be aware of other countries’ laws and regulations. Learn your rights about airline-related issues, too.
  3. Enjoy yourself. Let go of guilt about leaving home and those who aren’t with you.
  4. Check e-mail…if you must. Many people feel stress about the pile-up of unanswered mail when they return home. If you’re one of them, check your e-mail when you’re away. It’s better than worrying about it.
  5. Try new activities. Challenges that take you out of your comfort zone will help you feel replenished.
  6. Plan for contingencies. Bring medications, sunscreen, extra glasses, and whatever you need to feel comfortable while away.

As teachers, we don’t work traditional hours. We can be responding to student e-mails at midnight on a Sunday or preparing a lesson at 6 a.m. for a 10 a.m. class. Summer is the time for us to take advantage of time away from the academy, so that we can return fresh and ready for the next batch of students.

So, happy summer!

 

 

Listen Up: The Right-Ear Advantage Is A Thing

In a crowded room with multiple conversations competing for your attention, it’s often difficult to hear clearly. However, if the words you’re trying to decode filter to your right ear, you have a much better chance of understanding what’s been said. It’s called the right-ear advantage, and scientists have proven the phenomenon is verifiable.

The reason is the way information is processed by the brain. Sound received by the right ear is relayed to the left hemisphere of the brain where speech is interpreted. However, when the left ear hears speech, the sound must travel to the right hemisphere and then back to the left. That delay is responsible for the right-ear advantage.

Although this phenomenon affects young children in particular, scientists recently tested the impact on adults and found that the more difficult the listening situation, the more the right-ear advantage persisted.

The implications to those entering the workforce can be critical. Listening closely to new colleagues is especially important when learning unfamiliar concepts, tasks, and information. Likewise, observing—which of course involves listening—can be key to understanding the corporate culture of a workplace.

Awareness about how your brain takes in information can make the difference between being a quick study and valuable asset to an organization, or a confused, inattentive, and clueless new-hire. So next time you want to make sure you absorb what’s being said, you might want to lean to the right.

From The Wall Street Journal

Discussion

  1. What are some reasons for developing good workplace listening skills?
  2. Why might interrupting a speaker lead to poor communication?
  3. What are some ways you can communicate that you are listening without interrupting?