5 Things You Should NEVER Say at Work: Be professional!

Speaking to clients, coworkers or any other person you work with, may be tricky, especially when we deal with discussing some complicated and difficult situations! In fact, the words and expressions we use determine what people think of us and we need to be ready to give the right answer at the right moment, especially n the workplace. Therefore, in this article we are going to show the 5 most common but complicated situations that occur in the working environment and we are going to explain to you how to manage them by giving you the right replies.

How to manage difficult situations at work

Here are the 5 most difficult situations you might come across at work and how you should manage them:

1)  Somebody asks us something and we don’t know how to reply. 

When someone at work asks us something, we absolutely have to avoid replying with: non lo so (I don’t know), since it’s an expression that would make us look like unprepared, unprofessional and in some cases, even rude.
Thus in order to be professional, we need to use expressions that make us look like interested and ready to be helpful, like:

Non sono molto sicuro/a, ma posso certamente scoprirlo e farti sapere” (I’m not very sure, but I can certainly find it out and let you know!)


Dammi solo un attimo e ti do la risposta: giusto il tempo di fare una piccola ricerca!” (Just give me a second and I’ll give you the answer: I only need some time to do a little research)

2) Someone asks us if we’re able to complete a task within a certain amount of time. 

It’s a very common situation at work, where as everybody knows there are a lot of deadlines.
When someone asks us to do something within a certain time, we should never reply with: ci provo (I’ll try), since in Italian this expression doesn’t give any certainty or security: it doesn’t guarantee we’ll be able to do that , either won’t we, it’s the same as saying nothing. In order to be  professional we could say:

Certo! Posso farcela entro le 12!” (Sure! I can make it by 12)/ “Di sicuro! Lascia fare a me: alle 12 sarà tutto pronto!” (Sure! Leave it to me: everything will be ready by 12)

In case it wasn’t possible getting the job done within the time limit, in order to be professional, we should be sincere and admit we are not able to complete the project, but at the same time we should give some additional information on when we think we’ll complete our task.

Non credo di riuscire a finire per le 12, ma posso farcela per 16. Andrebbe bene lo stesso?” (I don’t think I’ll make it by 12, but I can make it by 16. Would it be okay anyway?


In tutta onestà, non penso di potercela fare entro le 12, ma ti garantisco che alle 16 sarà tutto pronto!” (Honestly, I don’t think I can make it by 12, but I can assure you that everything will be ready by 16!)

3) The boss or the client is enraged for some reason and they take it out on us.

When at work we have to deal with a person who is furious with us, for any reason, we can’t get paralyzed and rely with a simple:  scusa (sorry).

Some good replies, that would make us look professional and concerned about the matter and ready to cooperate to find a solution, are:

Capisco perfettamente la situazione e mi dispiace. Ora però dobbiamo trovare una soluzione” (I totally understand the situation and I’m sorry. But now we need to find a solution!)

Mi dispiace, ma non dobbiamo perdere tempo: bisogna subito concentrarsi per trovare un rimedio” (I’m sorry, but we must waste no time: we need to focus and find a remedy!)

4) Keeping someone waiting

When we’re busy with a client, or when we’re on the phone, the worst thing we could say to someone who is addressing us is: aspetta un attimo (wait a minute), possibly accompanied by gestures. This is the kind of attitude that’s really irritating and unprofessional, that should be avoided in any context not only in the working environment! Some valid solutions are:

Dammi un secondo! Sono da te tra un attimo” (Give me a moment! I’ll be with you in a second!)


Mi dispiace doverti far aspettare: dammi solo qualche istante” (I’m sorry keeping you waiting: just give a few seconds)

5) Someone asks us something, but we can’t hear or understand properly.

Not understanding what we are told is something that can happen to anyone, not only to foreign people, in fact there are many factors that make the comprehension more difficult: noises, distraction, a low tone of voice… anyway the answers we should never use, even if they’re common among Italians, are: eh? or cosa? (what?) They’re definitely unprofessional! In this case, we could use expressions like:

Mi dispiace, ma mi è sfuggito quello che hai detto. Potresti ripeterlo gentilmente?” (I’m sorry, I missed what you just said. Would you kindly repeat it one more time?)


Ti dispiacerebbe ripetere quello che hai appena detto? Mi dispiace, ma mi è sfuggito qualcosa!” (would you mind repeating what you just said? I’m sorry I missed something!)

Alright! These are the 5 situations we’ve selected for you. But now, remaining on the topic, you can take a look at our video on the 13 best jobs to do in Italy (even without a degree)! It will be very useful to you in case you need to fill your pocket!

Ah, and don’t forget to have a look at our new merchandise available on our store: LearnAmo Collection!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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