Don’t take this wrong way, but…

Framing is everything.

So, when approaching your staff, employees, volunteers or members, be careful of using “Kill Phrases.”

These types of setup comments negatively influence and/or negate whatever comes out of your mouth next.

For example:

1. “With all due respect…”

PROBLEM: people use this as a Get Out of Jail Free Card. A conversational passport to say whatever they want. As if insulting someone is OK if you say this first.

SILENT DIALOG: Oh, great. I bet he’s going to say something disrespectful to me next…

2. “Don’t get defensive…”

PROBLEM: mentioning the mere idea of defensiveness usually causes it.

SILENT DIALOG: Yeah right! Now I probably WILL get defensive about what she says next!

3. “Let me give you some advice…”

PROBLEM: this assumes superiority, even when advice wasn’t requested.

SILENT DIALOG: Um, did I ask for your advice?

4. “Try not to take this personally…”

PROBLEM: creates immediate self-consciousness.

SILENT DIALOG: How can I NOT take this personally?

5. “Don’t take this the wrong way…”

PROBLEM: puts people on the defensive.

SILENT DIALOG: Yep, here comes the insult…

6. “I’m only telling you this for your own good…”

PROBLEM: based on the assumption that the other person KNOWS what’s good for you.

SILENT DIALOG: My own good, or YOUR own comfort?

* * * *

SO REMEMBER: framing is everything.

If you can avoid these Kill Phrases, you will be sure to lay a foundation of approachability for the people you lead.

What other Kill Phrases should you avoid?

Post your examples here!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag

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