Verbal shorthand and slang are a natural part of speech for most people. However, words and phrases which seem perfectly normal in casual, social speech are often entirely inappropriate for professional communication. For many people, learning to “code-switch” and eliminate verbal shorthand in a business environment can be tricky.
Chances are you use slang and verbal shorthand more often than you realize. How often do you say “yup” instead of “yes” or “k” instead of “okay”? Do you tend to say “gonna”, “wanna”, “hafta”, and “shoulda” instead of “going to”, “want to”, “have to”, and “should have”? You might also be using slang words that are particular to you or your generation, a particular problem for young professionals or recent graduates new to the working world. Take some time to take stock of your vocabulary and see which slang words and phrases you use most often. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a friend or colleague, as you may not even notice some of the slang you use!
This isn’t just a problem in speech; written communication is often riddled with shorthand as well! Making the transition from casual texting to professional e-mail and other written communication can be difficult. While initialisms like “LOL” or word substitutions like “2” for “to” or “b” for “be” are may save time, these have no place in formal business communication. It may take a bit longer, but writing each and every word will give your written communication a professional edge and keep it from appearing sloppy.
Shorthand and slang can give the impression that you are unprofessional and sloppy and can significantly detract from your message. In business communication, always err on the side of formality, and eliminate all slang from your professional speech.
Want to learn more? Take a look at this video from Corporate Speech Solutions founder and President Jayne Latz:
Would you or a colleague benefit from communication training or accent reduction services? Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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