Yes, but…

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“Yes, but” is one of the most toxic phrases you can say in a work environment and can diminish your chances of getting an offer in an interview. Author Linnda Durre writes in this Forbes.com article, saying this phrase “will make you sound noncommittal, undependable and untrustworthy.”

Not to mention “Yes, but” comes across as passive aggressive. At minimum, you are saying to the person you are conversing with, “I heard you and don’t agree.” Or your really just meant to say no.

The bottom line is that saying, “yes, but” is an excuse.

Those who utter “yes, but” don’t really want answers, help, or solutions Durre states.

Do you agree?

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When did being Polite become an Anomaly?

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In our overly friendly and casual era, filled with too much personal information, when did simply being polite make you strange?

Yesterday, I tried to give up my chair at a table to someone who had a plate full of food (I was finished eating) and my fellow diners thought this was strange. I thought it was polite. I know how difficult it is to eat standing up, especially knife and fork required conference food. I knew if it was me, I would end up wearing more than half of what was on my plate if I had not eaten at the table.

This encounter got me thinking, I say please and thank you and may I, regularly. Only recently did I notice that these civilities make some people look at me strangely. Someone even commented that I would grow tired of using these civilities. I doubt that will happen. After 27 years, I still wave at everyone I pass, ask, “how are you,” and truly wait for the answer. If this makes me strange, I intend to keep being strange.

Treating Others Fairly

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I’ve almost always been considered “Support Staff” in every job except in a newsroom. Maybe my personality keeps me from being brushed aside, but I also (wrongly) thought that we had moved on from treating secretaries and office assistants as second-class office mates.

Everyone has had an experience in elementary school where someone was left out. Left out of a birthday invitation or left out of a game on the playground. It sucked as a child and it’s even more hurtful and damaging as an adult.

Continued exclusion of your co-workers creates a hostile work environment for everyone.

It wasn’t fair to exclude people as a child. If your parents were anything like mine, you probably got scolded for excluding them, regardless of your reasons. It is even more unfair and beyond that, disrespectful to exclude people as an adult.

If you are going to invite the whole office to a party or get together, make sure you invite the whole office. Even the people you don’t necessarily like. Not only will it go toward creating a goodwill bridge with that person, but also you might find you like them a lot better in the non-office setting.

Politely Refusing Food at Work

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Some people show appreciation with food at work. Birthdays, promotions, new hires and any other mile stone can easily be celebrated with a cake.

But not everyone can enjoy the food part of the festivities. A co-worker might be diabetic or allergic to an ingredient. Another might be trying hard to lose weight and the temptation is too much to even be in the same room as a cake.

This is where politely learning to refuse the offered food comes in handy. You don’t want to offend the person who thoughtfully brought in the cake or other item, but you don’t want to be wasteful either.

The easiest solution is to bring a dish to share that you know you can and want to eat. If the party is a surprise or you just don’t feel comfortable not partaking in the cake, get a small piece and carry it around with you. Feel free to stick your fork in and mash it up a little.

There is nothing wrong with saying you are full or have had enough. Find a solution that works for you and stick with it. Your co-worker will understand in the long run.

Please Stand Up

Image from: http://todaysseniorsnetwork.comIn an office environment and general business, you are bound to meet new people in various situations. You may have people walk into your office while you’re sitting at your desk, you may be the one walking into someone’s office while they are sitting. No matter the scenario, it is always best to stand, introduce yourself and shake their hand.

As a new employee, it is easy to remember this form of politeness, as you’re likely the one to be walking around meeting people. However, you should remember to stand when you meet any new person, especially in a business situation.

Some etiquette experts believe women don’t have to stand when they meet someone or when someone new walks into the room. I disagree. Standing, even if you are short, keeps everyone on the same in the same plane and at eye level. Not to mention, standing keeps you from subconsciously acting like a member of the royal family with servants to kiss your hand.