How Language Can Help You at Work

Published on: 2 Mar 2021


The language you use every day can greatly affect a person’s perception of you. Whether in written or spoken word, the way you choose to express yourself can reveal a lot about you as a person; this essentially means that language can be moulded to create the desired impression.

The way you communicate within the workplace has the potential to make or break your career. It’s important that you’re able to analyse each situation carefully and adapt your communication style appropriately. Adaptability is often key, and helps you lead up to the ultimate goal: making a good impression.

It’s likely that your workplace communication style will be affected by several different factors; from the type of work you do, to the level of professional relationship you have with the person you’re communicating with, context always plays a role in determining the language you use.

Here are The Language Gallery’s top four tips for using suitable language at work:


1. Think about an appropriate tone

The tone you should use when communicating with colleagues is heavily dependent on the type of professional relationship you have with them. It’s highly likely that there are differences in communication style when comparing the way you speak to your work friend, your boss, and the company director. If there isn’t, perhaps it’s time there was!

Using an appropriate tone with colleagues, whether it’s an email or a face-to-face chat, is incredibly important. Even if you get on well with your boss, they are still exactly that: your boss. While some people do have a more relaxed relationship with their managers than others, you still need to come across as professional, otherwise your informal tone may stand in the way of your career progression.


2. Learn to understand jargon and start using it

You might not hear this very often, but it’s actually a very good idea to try and understand the jargon that is used in your workplace. While it’s usually advised not to use jargon at all, there is one problem with this: you won’t be able to stop your colleagues using it.

With other people persisting in using phrases such as ‘plug it in’, ‘touch base’ and ‘mission critical’, it’s going to be easier for you to get your head around their meanings than it would be convincing them to speak in regular English. Try getting to grips with common phrases used in business English and you’ll be able to give the impression that you know exactly what you’re talking about. If you’re really interested in the language of business, there are even business English courses you can take to develop your vocabulary.

Competency based interview questions

3. Be clear and concise

A common misconception in workplace communication is that the more words you use to make your point, the more professional you sound. When trying to make a good impression people tend to use more complex language, feeling that it shows them in a better light. In reality, this isn’t the case.

When you’re trying hard to use complex language, your writing is at risk of becoming too flowery, which in turn risks your main message being misconstrued. Rather than worrying about the length of the words you’re using, concentrate on making your message clear and concise. Get straight to the point, telling the recipient what they need to know and what you require from them, if necessary.


4. Use words that convey positivity

If you’re likely to be looking for a promotion in the near future, it’s vital that the language you use at work conveys positivity, even in times of hardship. Rather than complaining about the problems you face, focus on the solutions and make sure you vocalise your positivity.

‘You failed to’, ‘you claimed that’, ‘we cannot see how’ are all examples of phrases which shouldn’t be used. ‘Might we suggest’, ‘let’s discuss’, and ‘please could you explain’ would prove better alternatives; they are polite, focusing on problem solving rather than criticising or blame passing.

All in all, the language you use at work speaks volumes about your character. It also has the ability to determine how successful you are. Follow our advice, and you should be well on the way to making a good impression.


This is a guest post written by Claire Payne from language school, The Language Gallery