8 Phrases That Will Win Anyone Over

24 Jul


Common courtesies seem to be lacking more than ever in 2014. I’m all in favor of casual dress and enjoy often working from home (literally in my slippers). What has fallen hard though are the common courtesies and words that we should be hearing from everyone on a daily basis.

This week, I’ve had two cases that had my jaw dropping…

  • Yesterday, a candidate of mine had a phone screening with my client who called him at 8:30. My candidate started out with “I’m not sure if I’m ready this morning because I haven’t even had my cup of coffee yet“. Imagine hiring this salesman to hunt for you that can’t even have his game face on at 8:30 am? I called him immediately after and assumed he was trying to joke with that statement and that it just came out wrong –  but I honestly think he was that self-important. Or just stupid. I was embarrassed and apologized to the client. I’m not sure how this candidate passed our two screening calls prior to being presented, but he somehow fooled us.

Here’s why I was really upset – he didn’t say “I’m sorry”.

  • The second story happened today. I was getting my favorite 99 cent dog at Super America. While assembling my Chicago-style hot dog with everything on it, the mustard blew up all over my suit. I politely asked the cashier (because I’m a salesman so you always ask!), “Can I get this hot dog for free since the container just cost me a few dollars at the dry cleaner?” He didn’t even answer my question as he rang me up. “Is that a no?” He nodded. All I really wanted was a simple apology!

Both of these men were in their 40’s or even 50’s so don’t attack the youth of America. Bad manners exist throughout every age group.

Here are my eight magic phrases. If you apply every one of them every day, you will find more customers (and friends) in your life:

  1. “I’m sorry.” This one is probably the most difficult to hear in America. Please be humble – and apologize more often.
  2. “Please.” We miss this a lot in our rush. I do too, but I always follow-up with a…
  3. “Thank you.” Why not thank everyone? Were you really going to think of something important during that second it takes to say or type “thanks”?
  4. “Excuse me.” Say it even if it’s their fault. Maybe they don’t understand that you walk on the right hand side always in America (I think it’s those British transplants 🙂 ). It can also be used to get someone’s attention without appearing aggressive.
  5. “Sir” or “Miss”. I learned the hard way that ma’am doesn’t work very well other than in the South. Young women don’t want to be called ma’am. Older women are flattered that you call them miss. Anyone over the age of 18 gets a sir or miss label from me if I don’t know their name.
  6. “Can I help?” Who doesn’t love this question?
  7. “Do you mind if I…”. Asking for permission is appealing to everyone. You can also use the abbreviated “Do you mind!?” when upset with other motorists instead of swearing.
  8. “I’m feeling…” This is a great start to resolve any conflict you come across. Don’t tell them what they did wrong – tell them how it made you feel. It’s less personal and more effective.

And your bonus: use THEIR NAME while talking to them which is second only to “I’m sorry”. Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People if it’s been a while. It’s an oldie but goodie.

If you are looking for work, leading an organization, selling or trying to improve your relationship with friends and family, try using these words more often.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz





Twitter: @drew_schmitz

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