Regardless of how experienced you are, using the wrong diction can hurt your credibility. Here are some words and phrases you should use only sparingly at work, and some ideas for what to say instead:

  • Filler words. “Like” and “um” are among the utterances it is most important to avoid because they add nothing to sentences. Such filler words “come up a lot in today’s speech with many younger workers,” said Lois Krause, a practice leader in HR compliance at HR consulting firm KardasLarson, based in in Glastonbury, Conn.

When you talk, mentally note how many filler words you use. If you use a lot, it is best to craft your response in your head before you speak so you can “self-edit as needed instead of using filler words,” Krause said.

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