Recently I was on the phone with a sales representative and we were trying to figure out a day for several of us to meet. When we finally came up with an available date, the sales representative said, “Cool!” I was taken aback. After I hung up, I thought about the slang word “cool”. It’s a universal word that is commonly used by everyone and it’s certainly not offensive. Yet, my perception of this female sales representative instantly changed. Her use of this casual and adolescent term caused me to question her competence.
As I reflected on it a bit more, I remembered that one of our managers complained to me last year about an intern who spoke with clients using the words “my bad”, “cool” and “sweet”. In my response to this manager, I found myself defending the intern’s vocabulary, chalking it up to being young and unpolished. However, after hearing my sales representative respond to me with “cool”, I now understood the impact that slang can have on the recipient.
As young people enter the business world, it’s important that they understand that their slang will need to be checked at the door. Speaking well is a sign of professionalism, good taste and intellect. Failing to use proper English could reduce the chances of young professionals being taken seriously. It could also impact how projects are assigned, client contact and even promotions. It is implied that professionals using accurate grammar will adhere to other business standards, such as honesty, fairness and service.
It’s NOT “cool” to use slang in business; it’s a shortcut that suggests immaturity, informality and bad taste. OMG! Pay attention to the words you use because they may have a direct impact on your career.