What Not to Say About Someone's Appearance
Don’t say: “You look tired.”
Why: It implies she doesn’t look good.
Instead say: “Is everything OK?” We often blurt the “tired” comment when we get the sense that the other person feels out of sorts. So just ask.
Don’t say: “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!”
Why: To a newly trim person, it might give the impression that she used to look unattractive.
Instead say: “You look fantastic.” And leave it at that. If you’re curious about how she got so svelte, add, “What’s your secret?”
Don’t say: “You look good for your age.”
Why: Anything with a caveat like this is rude. It's saying, "You look great―compared with other old people. It's amazing you have all your own teeth."
Instead say: “You look great.”
Don’t say: “I could never wear that.”
Why: It can be misunderstood as a criticism. (“I could never wear that because it’s so ugly.”)
Instead say: “You look so good in skinny jeans.” If you slip, say something like “I could never wear that…because I wasn’t blessed with your long legs.” Follow these tips to shop smart for your own body type.
Expert advice from Clinton Kelly, cohost of the TLC show, What Not to Wear.
What Not to Say in the Workplace
Don’t say: “That’s not my job.”
Why: If your superior asks you to do something, it is your job.
Instead say: “I’m not sure that should be my priority right now.” Then have a conversation with your boss about your responsibilities. In the past year, the rules of the workplace have changed. Learn how to shine at work in the new economy.
Don’t say: “This might sound stupid, but…”
Why: Never undermine your ideas by prefacing your remarks with wishy-washy language.
Instead say: What’s on your mind. It reinforces your credibility to present your ideas with confidence.
Don’t say: “I don’t have time to talk to you.”
Why: It’s plain rude, in person or on the phone.
Instead say: “I’m just finishing something up right now. Can I come by when I’m done?” Graciously explain why you can’t talk now, and suggest catching up at an appointed time later. Let phone calls go to voice mail until you can give callers your undivided attention.
Expert advice from Suzanne Bates, president and chief executive officer of Bates Communications, an executive-training firm in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of Speak Like a CEO.