“Yes I think I can” or “Yes I can.” Which one would you rather hear? The words you choose speak volumes… pun intended.
Indefinite Statements vs. Definite Statements
The phrases “I think” or “I guess” are almost always followed by a sense of weakness. “I guess I’ll go to that seminar” implies and underlying unwillingness to do it. “I think I’ll go to that seminar” implies a lack of commitment. As a listener it is very hard to feel any kind of solidarity in someone giving answers that feel so wishy-washy.
“Yes I’m going” is clear and decisive. It is an answer that provides meaning and a sense of planning. If you actually are unsure about something, give a reason why and a time when you will have an answer, “I have to check with X, I will let you know by Y.”
Avoid Negative Statements
If you want someone to listen with an open and receptive mind, you’ll have more success if you frame what you have to say using positive words rather than negative ones. An example of this in practice is as follows. You could say “Don’t always use reply all”, but a better way to phrase the same statement would be “Only use reply all when necessary.” This turns the criticism into a positive statement.
Instead of “I don’t like bananas” try saying a more positive statement like, “I prefer other fruit like oranges.” By removing the negative words you’re eliminating a negative undertone you may not even realize is there.
Eliminate Can’t From Your Vocabulary
You may not be able to do everything you’re asked to do, however “can’t” is often people’s go-to word for “won’t”. If you actually mean won’t, then say so. It is always better to be clear with your words and intentions. If what you’re being asked is outside of your skill set or knowledge then follow up with a solution; “That’s not something I’m familiar with, but I will call Sarah. She can help with something like that.”
Your words are a reflection of who you are. Be straightforward and positive. People will be more inclined to listen and follow someone who is direct.
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