Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't Say That!

There are some phrases I catch myself using, or that I catch others using, that are really sort of nasty turns of phrase. They're meant to mean one thing, but the actual thing the recipient hears is something totally different.

"Honestly, ...."
My first reaction to this is, "oh, and all the stuff before was dishonest?". Let's not go down that path!

"Let me be straight with you."
Again, an instance of "ahh, and we weren't being straight before".

"Yes." or "No."
This is ambiguous when answering a question. It could mean, "I agree", or it could mean, "You're incorrect. I answered in the affirmative." Clarify. Plus, one word responses tend to sound abrupt. Repeating the substance of the question helps connect you with your listener.

"We want to..."
Also ambiguous. You want to do something but you can't or won't? You want to and you're going to?

None of these are hard and fast rules, and I'm guilty of some of them, too. But over time, it really helps your overall work relationships to consider what your listener hears, not just what you say.

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