Guilty or Not?
In a long career in business, I’ve heard it all. Sometimes it’s just astonishing what comes out of people’s mouths when they repeat the phrases without thinking before they talk. If they did, they might be embarrassed by their own words. For example, have you ever heard these silly comments articulated?
- “We don’t need more business. We can’t handle what we have.” I wonder what the CEO and the Board might say about that statement. Rather than being a limitation, isn’t it an opportunity to expand the company’s resources in order to grow and continue to prosper in the future?
- “I’m not interested (before they know what it is you do).” Yes, we’re all busy people, and most of us don’t like phone interruptions. However, there are legitimate business reasons to initiate contact. If a caller says, “I’d like to introduce you to our company to see if we can become a resource for you. Do you have a few minutes to talk, or do you generally prefer email first,” that gives the responder a way to evaluate a business proposition without an immediate “no” response.
- “It is what it is.” In business, this statement indicates the responder is resigned to a particular situation. It also shows that the person has no interest in or sense of responsibility for evaluating an unsatisfactory, unacceptable, substandard or inadequate condition, policy, program or strategy. This type of submissiveness breeds discontent and disengagement.
- “I’m already giving 110 percent.” In addition to being physically and mentally impossible, this declaration really represents a defensiveness and resistance to performance improvement, innovation or being a true team player. It demonstrates an unrealistic view of an individual’s self-value and is a red flag for future promotions.
- “Your call is important to me.” This common voice mail phrase is generally insincere. Very often it is followed by, “Leave your name and number and I’ll return the call as soon as I can.” This simply isn’t true. Very often the call is never returned.
- “We don’t take sales calls.” Does management really give the receptionist the authority to determine what is important and what isn’t? How many missed opportunities are there for companies that utter this phrase? Selling isn’t negative. It’s the essential activity that brings in the dollars and leads to the achievement of corporate growth goals.
The takeaway: think before you talk.