If you know me at all, you know that I don’t shy away from straight talk. And yes, that means a few strong words every now and then. I don’t use them for shock value, or to offend, but to make my point the way I want to make it. At the end of the day, the message delivered is the important thing, not whether you’re breaking some outdated rule about what can and cannot be said in an office setting.
Some might say this is a violation of unspoken etiquette. To that, I ask, are we here to have a politeness contest, or are we here to make deals? If someone is going to shy away from strong language, what else will they shy away from? Fortune favors the bold, and sometimes that means using bold language when hesitation won’t do.
At the same time, a little coarseness doesn’t mean disrespecting people. On the contrary, I’ve also found that the old adage, “treat everyone the way you’d want to be treated,” is the best way to forge lasting connections. That being said, I know I personally don’t mind hearing a forceful word or two—it shows me that the person I’m talking to takes their work seriously. It shows me that their main focus is on getting the job done, not about placating others or prioritizing some stale idea of office decorum.
At the end of the day, it’s all about getting results: making the deals, forging connections, and establishing a presence. Agonizing over the wrong words is like fussing with your tie in the middle of a meeting: that shows me that either your priorities are in the wrong order, or more likely that you just lack confidence. So what’s the moral of the story? Look at the big picture, and remember that someone who drops the occasional f-bomb here or there still has a big advantage over someone who never speaks their mind.