Anytime you meet a new client, or even a colleague, you want to make a great first impression. Here are a few commonly used words and phrases you probably want to avoid. These phrases make you sound like you have less experience than you do.
“I Don’t Know”
None of us have all of the answers all of the time. But by replying to a question with “I don’t know” make you look uninformed and less than capable. Instead, let your clients know what you do know. Try “I can tell you that…” or “Let me confirm some things before I answer that question.” Even “I want to have more information before I give you an answer on that” is a completely honest answer that lets your clients know you’re on their side.
“Is That OK?”
This question sounds like you’re not sure if you’ve given the right recommendation. Instead of looking for reassurance, try “Let me know what you think of that.” It puts the ball in their court without sacrificing your knowledge and confidence.
“Very ________”, “Extremely ________”, Etc.
Remove unnecessary words from your language. Remember the scene in Dead Poets’ Society where Robin Williams’ character says “So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted.” Remember this rule and find a better word for what you’re trying to say. OR eliminate the excess words altogether and simplify your statements.
“My schedule is wide open.” or “Let me know what time is convenient for you.”
Admitting that your schedule is empty is a sure sign that you might not have all the business you need or want. Instead, offer windows of time, like “I could meet you on Tuesday or Thursday morning” and see what they reply with. If the time doesn’t work, they’ll let you know and you can open up another time slot in your schedule to meet.
It’s time to stop apologizing for every little thing. If you find yourself apologizing frequently, it could point to a lack of judgment of your own capabilities. If you’re often late on deadlines, try giving yourself a larger window when you’re able. And if you’re just trying to get “sorry” out of your vocabulary, try substituting it with “Thank you.” As in, “Thank you for your patience,” instead of, “Sorry I’m so late.” This simple switch puts the opportunity to be gracious in your hands and makes sure you aren’t constantly appearing to seek validation.