Sometimes people vent by talking about their pet peeves. These are behaviors that are the topic of constant complaints. When it comes to business, some of these actions include rudeness, inefficiency, bullying, lateness and a lack of integrity. In addition, there are as many sources of irritation that come from the utterance of certain business phrases. It’s time to remove many of these business phrases from our repertoire. Or, at the very least, reconsider and rephrase them. Here are a few examples.
Business Phrases To Avoid
1. We prefer to do business locally. Really? In a global economy, where people are connected 24/7, shouldn’t the first priority be to do business with the best provider possible? When people pull the “provincial” card, do they forget that their company’s salespeople are calling on prospects who are outside the headquarters region?
2. Response to the question, “Is John Doe in?” The answer to the question is “yes” or “no.” But far too often, the individual doesn’t answer the asked question but responds with, “May I tell him/her who is calling?” instead. It sounds as if this individual might be “in” for some people and not for others. A more courteous and professional way to address this common question is to say, “Yes he is in. May I tell him who’s calling please?” Alternatively, a screener can say, “Yes, he is in but he’s in a meeting. Would you like voicemail?” By answering the asked question first and then adding to it makes a meaningful difference.
3. We don’t take solicitation/phone calls. There’s no question that some people prefer emails, texts and other forms of introduction. However, a personal phone call can be welcome way of providing valuable information. It’s also a professional way to build a relationship. Yet, when a receptionist acts as the gatekeeper or determiner of what opportunities should be explored, a lot of worthwhile relationships are never developed. Worse yet, a company’s reputation can be damaged by a first-encounter of this type. Here are additional tips for business telephone etiquette.
4. It is what it is. This phrase indicates an acceptance of the status quo, when the appropriate response might be very different. Sometimes possibilities and opportunities emerge from questioning the status quo, going outside-the-box and asking how we might learn from and improve the current situation.
5. We have all the business we can handle. Having been in business for 40 years, I’ve never known an enterprise where this was true. Of course, businesses can have peaks and spikes in operations, but most executives and management teams would rather add staff and resources in order to take advantage of additional revenue and new profit streams than turn away business.
Kids (and Adults) Say the Silliest Things
Everyone knows kids say the “darndest” things, and sometimes adults say silly things, even in business. Occasionally, intelligent people unknowingly undermine themselves—and their businesses. Perhaps with a little awareness and a more open mind, we can reframe our thinking and reposition ourselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.