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Santa Monica College|Student Services|Career Services Center |Etiquette Tip of the Week

Etiquette Tip of the Week

​Etiquette Tip of the Week: Words You Should Absolutely Eliminate

A friend of mine had an Etiquette Tip of the Week request.

“Would you advise people to stop overusing the word 'honestly?' I hear it way too much around our offices – whether a coworker is talking with another coworker in person, or with a vendor or client on the phone. When someone says, 'Honestly,...' or 'To be honest,...,' does that imply the person typically lies? It drives me crazy. They should drop those filler words."

In business communication, filler words keep us from being clear and concise.

Another communication rut: overused buzzwords. Have you heard these in circulation lately?

I am trying to break myself of the habit of this word. People use “absolutely” instead of “yes.” It’s like yes with emphasis. Yes! Absolutely!
"Have you read the actuary's report?"
Used repeatedly, it’s annoying. Just say, “yes.” You’ll save three syllables.

You order a regular coffee and the person behind the counter says, “Perfect!” Is this the best regular cup of coffee ever or did you really like the way I ordered it? Someone behind the counter told me customers use it too. It’s a substitute for “thank you.”
“Here’s your coffee.”
What's wrong with, "Thank you?"

If you hear yourself using buzzwords habitually (or notice them when proofreading emails), there is an easy cure: read.

Read everything. Read newspapers and online news sites, business books, classic literature (not trashy bodice rippers), biographies, cookbooks, books about history, philosophy, sports, travel, art. Look up definitions of words you don’t know.

Reading enhances your vocabulary and helps you find replacements for the buzzwords. Will it improve your business communication? Yes!

Any buzzwords or filler words peeving you? Let me know: or on Twitter: @MannersThatMove
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