All of us trip over our words sometimes. We say things we shouldn’t. We hurt people’s feelings or we insult them when all we really want to do is be supportive and generous.
As a Real estate agent, you can be particularly prone to these slip-ups, these “no-no’s” in conversation just by the sheer number of people you meet and talk with every day. By making a few adjustments in how and what you say to people, these “no-no” phrases can become smart phrases in any conversation.
- Don’t say, “You look tired.” Looking “tired” conjures up images of looking messy, or droopy…grouchy or unfocused. Instead ask, “is everything alright?” or “Is everything okay?” The someone you’re asking will feel as though you’re concerned about them rather than thinking you’re being critical or rude.
- Don’t say, “Wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!” The person may think that you thought they looked terrible before. Instead, say, “Wow, you look fantastic!”
- Don’t say, “You were too good for her/him anyway.” Break-ups can be hurtful even if/when “you” were the person doing the breaking up. Say instead, “Her/his loss!” This statement expresses support and enthusiasm for the person telling you about the break-up. And this statement implies no criticism of the person for choosing the other in the first place.
- Don’t say, “You always…You never…” No one does the same thing over and over again so don’t define them with an “always” or a “never.” “Always” and “never” put people on the defensive. Instead, say something like “…it seems as though you do this enough for me to notice that…”
- Don’t say, “You look great for your age.” I’m old enough to know that this is a real “no no.” Just say, “You look great.” No qualifiers necessary.
- Don’t say, “As I’ve said before…” This can sound extremely condescending as it implies that the person “you’ve” said this to before wasn’t listening and/or didn’t recognize how important the words “you” were saying actually were. Instead, just say what you want to say…no preambles required.
- Don’t say, “Good luck!” The person may interpret those words as meaning they need luck to do or get what they want..that they haven’t got what it takes to do or get what they want on their own. Say instead, “I know you have what it takes to…” This phrase suggests that they have the skills needed to be successful and that you have confidence in them to be successful.
- Don’t say, “It’s up to you” or “Whatever you want” when someone asks your opinion. Obviously, your opinion matters or they’d not have asked for it so instead say, “I don’t have a strong opinion but here are some things to consider…”
- Don’t say, “Well, at least I’ve never…” Here’s that one dimensional “never” word again. When someone tells you that you’ve hurt their feelings or that you’ve made a mistake, say instead, “I’m sorry. I’ll try to be better next time.” Own up and admit you were wrong. Also let the person know that you care enough about them that you’ll try harder the next time.
With conversation, as in social awareness and emotional intelligence, it’s the little things that make the difference between say no no’s and being smart.