How to professionally say

A guide for your daily "professional" interactions (not really, try at your own risk)

PS: I am looking for additional data sources and make it more appropriate for most people.
If you are looking to contribute then please reach out to me at [email protected].
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Current flow of data

What you might feel like sayingWhat you can prefer to say instead

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  • You are overcomplicating this

    • Being mindful of timelines. Let’s concentrate on the initial scope.
  • That meeting sounds like a waste of my time

    • I’m unable to add value to this meeting but I would be happy to review the minutes.
  • I told you so

    • As per my prediction, this outcome does not come as a surprise.
  • That sounds like a horrible idea

    • Are we confident that this is the best solution or are we still exploring alternatives?
  • I already told you this

    • As Indicated prior
    • The information has not changed since the last time it was communicated.
  • Can you answer all of the questions I asked and not just pick and choose one

    • Are you able to provide some clarity around the other questions previously asked?
  • Did you even read my email?

    • Reattaching my email to provide further clarity
    • I’ll provide an update when I have one
  • Stop bothering me

    • You have not heard from me because further information is not available at this time, once I have an update I’ll be sure to loop you in.
  • I don’t want to talk to you right now!

    • I am currently tied up with something but I will connect with you once I am free.
  • Do your job!

    • It is my understanding that you are the appropriate person to contact in regards to this. But if there’s is someone better equipped for this let me know.
  • That’s not my job

    • This falls outside of my responsibilities but I would be happy to connect you with someone who can help.
    • I’m not the correct person to assist with this but I am happy to connect you with [insert name] who will be able to help
  • Stop assigning me so many tasks if you want any of them to get done

    • As my workload is quite heavy, can you help me understand what I should reprioritize to accommodate this new task?
  • Answer my emails

    • If there’s a better way to get in contact with you please let me know as I am hoping to have this resolved as soon as possible.
  • This is not my problem

    • I recommend directing this issue to [Name] as they have the proper expertise to best assist you
  • If you would have read the whole email you’d know the answer to this

    • I have included my initial email below which contains all of the details you are looking for.
  • I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about

    • Can you help me better understand what exactly is it that you require on my end?
  • Stop micromanaging

    • I am confident in my ability to complete this project and will be sure to reach out, if or when I require your input.
  • Please hurry and get this done!

    • It is important that we have this completed in order to meet our targeted deadlines which are quickly approaching.
  • Stay in your own lane

    • Thank you for your input. I’ll keep that in mind as I move forward with decisions that fall within my responsibilities.
  • I’ve told you this multiple times

    • There seems to be a disconnect here as this information has already been provided.
  • I’m not doing your job for you

    • I do not have the capacity to take this on in addition to my own workload but I’m happy to support where it makes sense.
  • We do not need to have a meeting about this

    • Being respectful of everyone’s time let’s discuss this through email until we have a more defined agenda.
    • Being respectful of everyone’s time, can we communicate about this via email moving forward?
  • Did you just take credit for my work?

    • It is great to see my ideas being exposed to a wider audience and I would have appreciated the opportunity to have been included in the delivery.
  • Google that yourself

    • The internet is a great resource for these types of questions and I am available to clarify elements that you are not able to find online.
  • What you are saying does not make sense

    • We seem to have a different understanding on this. Can you elaborate further on your thought process here?
  • I am not paid enough to do this

    • This falls out of my job description but if the opportunity for a role expansion becomes available I would be happy to discuss reworking my contract to better align with these new responsibilities.
  • I totally forgot about your email

    • Thank you for your patience,
  • I’m going to need a whole lot of more information if you want me to do this

    • Please let me know when further details become available as I require more information to successfully complete this task.
  • Stop calling me before my workday even starts

    • If you need to contact me, please note that my working hours being at 8 am and 6 pm. Communications received prior to this won’t be seen.
  • Check your inbox, I already sent this to you!

    • I previously sent you an email regarding that but please let me know if something went wrong in transit.
  • I couldn’t care less

    • I will defer to your judgment on this as I am not passionate either way and I trust your expertise.
  • I told you so and now this is your problem

    • I did previously note that this was a likely outcome. How do you plan to resolve this?
  • Stop trying to make me do your work!

    • I am not able to offer you additional support in completing your workload.
  • Try problem solving on your own before you come to me

    • I encourage you to brainstorm possible solutions prior to looping me in for additional support.
  • Can you do your job so I don’t have to?

    • Please let me know when your deliverables have been completed.
  • If further changes are required do them yourself.

    • If further edits are required, I have attached a version of the document that you can apply your edits directly into.
  • You should be the one doing this, not me.

    • It is my understanding that this is your responsibility. If that is not the case please let me know.
  • I don’t need to be included on this.

    • I do not feel as though I am able to add any value to this conversation. Please remove me from this thread and feel free to loop me back in in the future should my involvement be required.
  • I can’t read your mind. Be more clear on what you want.

    • In order to successfully complete this I will need further details on what is required.
  • Does taking on all this extra work come with extra pay?

    • With my role expanding is there a plan to review my title and compensation to better reflect these additional responsibilities?
    • As my role has organically evolved, can we schedule time to review my overall compensation and discuss whether or not it is still aligned with my current role and responsibilities?
    • Will these tasks be part of my job long-term? If so, is there an opportunity to reevaluate my job description, title, and overall compensation to more accurately reflect these additional responsibilities?
  • Stop promising unrealistic timelines.

    • Can you walk me through your thinking on these timelines? I have some hesitations with the dates shared.
  • I’ve not been properly trained on this

    • Is training available in order for me to successfully complete this?
  • If you have me scheduled in meetings all day, when do you expect me to get this work done?

    • My calendar is currently heavily scheduled with meetings. To ensure appropriate time is available to get this done I can sit out of lower priority meetings this week or extend the deadline on this project. Please let me know which is preferred?
  • If I’m doing your job for you, then what are you doing all day?

    • Is there a higher priority task that is consuming all of your capacity at the moment?
  • I can’t take on anymore work right now

    • I am unable to take that on at the moment as my current workload is quite heavy. Is there someone else who can assist with this?
  • Your micromanaging isn’t making this go any faster

    • Though I appreciate your attention to this, I feel as though I could be more productive if I had an opportunity to work independently here.
  • If you expect me to do the job of 3 people, then I expect you to pay me the salary of 3 people.

    • Are additional team members being added to take on these roles or will I be expected to absorb these responsibilities? If the latter, I would be happy to set up some time to discuss appropriate compensation for this role expansion
  • You are not my boss, stop trying to assign me work.

    • Have you connected with [manager name] in regards to me taking this on? As it has not been communicated to me that I’ll be working on this.
  • If you want it done your way then just do it yourself.

    • As you seem to have a very clear vision for the execution of this, I encourage you to take the lead here and I’m happy to support you where necessary.
  • I don’t want to work with you more than I have to.

    • Would you be open to replacing our frequent communications with a monthly touch base where we can discuss all updates during that time?
  • I don’t want to attend a work event during my personal time.

    • I’m unable to attend after working hours.
  • Does the company actually care about the employees?

    • Are there resources and boundaries in place to support the physical and mental health of employees?
  • How much does this role pay?

    • Can you share what the overall compensation looks like for this role?
  • Are promotions based on performance or politics?

    • Is there an opportunity for growth within the company and if so what is the main metric for promotion?
  • Do you have a culture that expects employees to put in over 40 hours each week?

    • Is it common within the company for employees to exceed 40 working hours per week?
  • Is the manager of this role a micromanager?

    • How involved is the reporting manager with this role?
  • Do you expect employees to be available 24/7?

    • What is the expectation for being available outside of working hours?
  • I don’t believe you.

    • I’m not confident that the information you have provided is correct.
  • You are wasting my time.

    • Being respectful of time let’s regroup when more details become available.
  • I deserve a raise.

    • Given my contributions to the company’s success along with a current market analysis of my role. I am setting up time to discuss a salary review.
  • The way you speak to me is disrespectful.

    • I encourage you to reevaluate the way you are speaking to me, as the disrespect you are currently displaying towards me is not welcomed nor will it be tolerated.
  • That idea is going to be an epic fail.

    • I am not in agreement with this idea and have hesitations moving forward.
  • I am burning out with this workload and your lack of support.

    • My productivity is being impacted by the overwhelming workload I am currently assigned. Is there any support you or the team can offer?