November 9, 2023 at 5:37 pm

8 Arrogant-Sounding Phrases You Should Stop Using At Work And 5 Tips For More Effective Communication

by Ethan Cotler

Being confident and knowledgeable in the workplace is important. However, sometimes, what you say can come off the wrong way.

There are even some phrases that you should probably try to avoid!

Source: Unsplash

NPR hosts and authors of “You’re Saying It Wrong” Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras have a laundry list of these phrases.

Drawing from a 2011 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, they’ve identified several that often come across as arrogant:

  1. “I don’t mean to brag, but…” implies an intention to boast.
  2. “I already knew that…” or “Doesn’t everyone know that?” dismisses others’ knowledge or experiences.
  3. The phrase “I’m pretty sure that…” indicates uncertainty – it’s better to admit when you don’t know something.
  4. Starting a statement with “No offense, but…” does not lessen its potential offensiveness.
  5. Overusing “I” or “me” can suggest self-centeredness.
  6. Excusing a rude comment with “Oh, I’m just kidding!” doesn’t make it less insulting.
  7. Prefacing information with “You probably don’t know this” is condescending; it’s better to share directly.
  8. Unsolicited advice starting with “If I were you…” can be seen as intrusive.

So what should you do instead?

  1. Practice active listening to communicate effectively at work without sounding arrogant.
  2. Respect your colleagues’ perspectives instead of assuming you’re always correct.
  3. Remember: silence is golden too! Instead of talking for its own sake (which might come off as trying too hard), strive for meaningful contributions to conversations.
  4. Try seeking out your peers’ experiences and opinions instead of focusing solely on yours. Everyone has valuable insights that deserve attention.
  5. Use inclusive language like ‘we’ and ‘our’ instead of ‘I,’ ‘me,’ or ‘my.’ This conveys a team spirit and shared responsibility.

In sum, mindful communication is key to maintaining professionalism at work.

Being aware of potentially arrogant-sounding phrases can help you express yourself more effectively in the workplace.