A former intern of mine shared an article from Elle Magazine about “girl speak” - AKA “casual speak”. Check out the article HERE because it’s a great read on what is professional and what isn’t professional to say at work.
The big takeaway from the article is that there is a way to speak at work and a way not to speak at work. There has to be a difference in the way you speak with friends and the way you speak to your boss and colleagues.
Here are some tips to make sure you aren’t viewed as “too casual” in the workplace:
1. Evaluate Your Vocab. We all have words that we say all of the time in our personal lives - words that are unique to us. For example, I’m guilty of always inserting the word “like” (a terrible habit) or saying the phrase “literally” (with way too much emphasis) or even using a silly voice and saying “I don't get it”. This is the casual speak that I’m guilty of using with my friends. But it’s important to stop and think about those words that you tend to use or over-use with friends so that you can make sure you start to block them from the workplace.
2. Double Check Emails Before Sending. In today’s world we send so many emails - and we send them so quickly. It can be hard to remember to double check the tone of your emails and make sure you aren’t using any words that could be seen as “too casual” for workplace communication. Challenge yourself to re-read emails before sending to make sure they come across professionally. I try to always greet people (Hi _____,) when emailing and I always sign my name just to make them come across a bit more professional. Try to avoid one-liners over email as well as those can be seen as “too casual”.
3. Be Careful with Text Messages. We use so many different ways to communicate with colleagues and our bosses. Text messaging is one of the most informal means of communication so we have to be careful when using it. If your boss asks you to text them (perhaps it’s to check-in or something) make sure that you keep it professional via text. Avoid your “lol” or “brb” or abbreviations via text. Remember, you aren’t texting your friend. I had an intern text me, “Dude! No Way!”, and I was embarrassed for her - not professional.
4. Watch the Subject Matter. It can be hardest to contain the “casual speak or girl speak” when you are having informal conversations at work. You can easily forget where you are. But remember, you are at work - not at home. You are with colleagues - not with friends. So try to keep the “What’s Up?” - “Dude!” - “No way!” - “I’m dying!” - “I don’t get it” - for home use only.
For more tips on how to communicate professionally with your boss check out my new book (pre-order today!), Welcome To The Real World.