“Like I Said…” And Other Harmful Things We Say
I’m doing research for an upcoming Forbes article and need your input. The article is on phrases we use, most likely unintentionally, that damage relationships. Perhaps you’ve heard them in the workplace, or used them yourself. Perhaps a client asked you a question you already responded to, and because you don’t want them to think you weren’t on the ball you feel the need to call attention to the fact you already answered the question, so you preface your response with “As I said before…”
The problem is that the translation of “As I said before…” is “As I said before, you forgetful moron…” There are other variations of this phrase such as “Like I said…” or “As I mentioned…” or the ruder and more intentional “I already told you…” Using such phrases makes the client feel dumb for having forgotten that you already answered the question. Yes, now they realize you were on the ball and they weren’t, but they also feel like they are stupid and that you’re a jerk. Nobody wins.
It’s hard to avoid saying such things, but it becomes much easier if we are aware of the phrases and flag them in our minds so that when the temptation arises, we can recognize it, cut if off, and respond in a better way.
I’m working on collecting 5-10 such phrases, their translations, and the better wording to use. Send me your ideas by posting comments below, and you might just make it into the article alongside some yet to be named business celebrities.