It’s my turn to host girl’s night and my dining room and kitchen are buzzing with the sounds of my girlfriends’ laughter as we begin to open a bottle of red wine. “Is that a vase of money on your desk?” asks Victoria. “Yes, my name’s Adriana and I’m addicted to dollar slot machines. (We all chuckle.) That’s my swear jar; I’ve had it for years. I put $1 in anytime I say the F-bomb or the word stupid.”
Given that we’re all professional women, and quite a lively bunch at that, it started a dynamic conversation about the effects cussing can have on your professional image, personal brand and job search.
You are what you say
Building your vocabulary can build your confidence. If you think of your language as a direct reflection on your personal brand and professional image, would you change anything? When’s the last time you let an F-bomb or Oh $#!* slip out in a client meeting, at a networking event or even an interview?
Just last fall one of my clients received a job offer from a media company in N.Y. When I asked the recruiter what made the difference between him and the #2 candidate, he told me the other guy had been so casual during the interview he dropped 3 f-bombs and it turned them off.
Stanford or stupid
Unless you’ve branded yourself the next Howard Stern or plan to pull off a Justin Halpren “sh-t my dad says” Twitter success, the words that you speak are judged more harshly if they’re less refined. Does this mean that to be seen as professional and polished you need to be an Ivy Leaguer? Goodness No! It simply means to keep need to keep basement language (as my girlfriend Miranda calls it) in check.
Cuss word creativity
What do you say in lieu of your cuss words? In times of need, get creative or call mom – those are my mottos as least. Mom came up with the swear jar which certainly helps to curb the cussing. She also said women should always wear lipstick. Maybe she wants your words look prettier in the event of a slip up? That or she just really wants me to get married and is throwing in single gal advice any way possible.
Clean up your vocabulary and personal brand by challenging yourself to think of creative synonyms to replace your favorite cuss words. Some of the replacements I’ve created are: toukas, malarkey, and fagezee (none of which passed the spell check).
Shut the Front Door? Open your vocabulary, and hiring managers, clients and colleagues will be more likely to open the front door for you and your friendlier vocabulary.
Adriana Llames is a veteran career coach and acclaimed author of Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game, released with top book seller Amazon.com. She is creator of “HR In-A-Box,” a Human Resources software product helping small businesses across America and a professional keynote speaker motivating and inspiring audiences with her focused programs on “9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game”, “Confessions of a Career Coach” and “Nice Girls End Up on Welfare.” For more information, visit www.adrianallames.com