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Whether you are your own boss, or you’re just starting out, you know that the way you talk to others is essential to making a lasting impression and building strong business relationships. The key to communicating effectively is understanding that your intention cannot always be accurately conveyed. Even if you don’t mean to say something that offends someone, it’s still entirely possible to do so. That’s why it’s important to understand the connotations of everything you say, especially to others who are different from you.

Using inclusive language create a more welcoming environment, encourage others to share unique ideas, and help bring new insight to your work. Diverse workplaces are 35% more likely to financially outperform homogenous ones. So when you encourage inclusion in the language you choose, you are not only creating positivity, but you’re building a foundation for successful business.

So how do you make your language more inclusive? A good rule of thumb is to avoid making assumptions. If you’re ever uncertain, it’s totally fine to ask for clarification on how to address someone. In addition, if you ever find yourself saying something that accidentally excludes someone else, don’t be afraid to apologize. For more specifics on inclusive language, check out the infographic below by Fundera:

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