THE INC. LIFE

12 Words and Phrases Intelligent People Never Say

People who boast about their I.Q. are losers

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BY John Rampton - 16 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Have you ever had a conversation and said something that you immediately regret?

It's happened to the best of us at one point or another, but that's not usually the norm for intelligent people who carefully select their words before saying them out loud.

Unfortunately, since there are so many of us who are inept in this area, I've put together 12 words and phrases that intelligent people would never say to someone else so that you can strengthen your communication skills both in and out of the office.

1. I'm, like, a smart person"

Sound familiar? That was President Donald Trump's response when asked why he didn't partake in daily press meetings.

Regardless of your political beliefs, that was a phrase that you would never hear an intelligent person say. When people boast constantly about how smart they are, they lack self-confidence, feel inadequate, or are seeking validation from others. Truly intelligent people don't brag about themselves. They let others do the bragging for them.

Contrast that statement from President Trump to Stephen Hawking when asked what his I.Q. was, "I have no idea. People who boast about their I.Q. are losers."

2. "This is how I've always _____."

Whether if it's how you communicate with employees, promote your brand, or manufacture products, we live in a world surrounded by rapidly-advancing technology. Saying the above phrase shows that you're not willing to embrace change, or you're just not willing to put in the effort to learn something new.

Intelligent individuals don't resist change. They embrace change because this new technology or problem-solving approach could make their lives easier.

3. "No one else is doing that, so neither will I"

Intelligent people don't follow the status quo. And, they never back down from a challenge (unless it's a worthless challenge; e.g., I can eat more pie than you can!). If there's a task or responsibility that everyone is unwilling to accept, it will be the smartest person in the room who rise up and accept the challenge. As an added perk, they may develop new skills along the way and will stand-out from the rest of the crowd.

4. "That's not fair!"

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but life isn't fair. Saying a phrase similar to "That's not fair! " makes you appear immature and whiny.

Instead of complaining when things don't go their way, intelligent people want to know exactly what went wrong (or why a decision-maker didn't approve their project idea or offer them a promotion) so that they can make the proper adjustments in order to prevent future mistakes or misunderstandings.

In other words, they gather feedback so that they are aware of what areas they need to strengthen.

5. "I could care less."/"Whatever."

People utter these statements to convey their apathy or indifference. Some people have a problem with "I could care less," because they believe it's outdated and should either be "I don't care," or "I could not care less," if they truly are indifferent.

My problem with these statements is that intelligent people, especially those who have a high Emotional Intelligence, do care. They're empathetic and are in-tune with other people's emotions and sensitivities. They enjoy problem-solving and talking to other people in order to get to know more about them.

6. "It is what is."

There may be a certain zen feeling with this statement, but an intelligent person would never say it out loud since it translates to "I have nothing to add to this situation," "I don't know how to fix this problem."

Intelligent people, as I've already mentioned, don't back down from a challenge. They use their problem-solving skills and innovative thinking to face problems head-on. And, they never accept something for what it is. They thrive on making the world better. Can you even imagine Elon Musk saying, "It is what is?"

7. "That's not my fault"

Let's say that you were a part of that disastrous Pepsi ad with Kendall Jenner. Even if it had been minimal involvement, you still had a role to play. As such, you also shoulder the blame. Granted, you probably aren't experiencing the backlash like the director, head writers, and executives at Pepsi are, but you were still involved.

My point is that instead of pointing fingers and throwing others under the bus, intelligent people hold themselves, and their teams, accountable. There were hundreds of people involved with that Pepsi ad. At no point did any of them stop and ask, "Is this really a good idea?" That's why everyone involved is responsible for its failure.

8. "I wasn't asked to do that"

Intelligent people don't have to wait to be asked a question. In fact, they probably already have the answer before it's asked because they're intuitive and always listening.

Instead of holding onto that information though, they're more than willing to share it with others so that everyone can successfully move forward.

9. "I'm willing to pay _____."

When negotiating a business deal. An intelligent person would never blurt out this phrase. The reason? It takes away their leverage. If they say to a freelancer "I'm willing to pay you $40 per hour," and the freelancer charges $30 per hour, who won the negotiation?

Intelligent people remain quiet until it's the right moment for them to speak up.

10. You look _____."

Regardless if you are referring to someone else's age, weight, or current physical appearance, intelligent people wouldn't mention that they look tired, pregnant, have lost weight, or that they look young for their age because it could come across as condescending, or even rude.

Instead, if someone looks tired and unkempt, don't be Captain Obvious. Ask them if everything is ok and if they need any help with anything. If you noticed that a co-worker lost weight, a simple and genuine compliment like "You look great!" is the safer bet.

11. "This has to be perfect."

There is no such thing as perfect - no matter how hard you try.

Intelligent people know that they're not perfect or that their product/service will be either. They work hard, do their best, and move on. Perfectionism will only hold them back from constantly moving forward.

12. "I will try."

Geoffrey James, author of Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know, sums this one up perfectly on Inc.com;

"I will try..." There are no three words in the English language that are more deceptive, both to the person who says them and the person who hears them. People who say "I will try" have given themselves permission to fail. No matter what happens, they can always claim that they "tried."

James adds, "People who really and truly achieve goals never say 'I will try.'" Instead of saying this phrase, "they always say 'I will do' something or, better yet, 'I must do' whatever the task is."

As Yoda famously said in The Empire Strikes Back, "Do. Or do not. There is no try."