Words, and how we phrase them, really do matter.
A couple of weeks ago I took a several days away from business to work on my business. Every quarter I take the time to review the prior 3 months and set up a plan for the next 3 so I stay on track for the year. My current favorite spot for this retreat is in the little Marin County crossroads called Olema, the gateway to Point Reyes National Seashore. Here I've found Olema Cottages which provides the space and calmness conducive to thought.
On this last stay I noticed the various signs around my little spot, "The Nest," and and paid attention to how I reacted to them.
The first sign was the "welcome back, Lottie." I smiled as I walked up the stairs - someone cared; they were glad I had returned; I was important to them. Do we make our clients and customers feel that way? How can we do better?
The next sign, on the front door, made clear the policy about cats. Instead of a brusk, "no animals allowed; keep them outside" the softer statement I saw read, "Our cats are not allowed inside...no matter what they say." Gentle humor didn't dilute the message. Yes, the resident cat came up once, was happy for a pat and then went on his way. He knew that begging for entrance wouldn't be fruitful.
How do we gently yet firmly make a necessary request, or handle an objection? How can we make the necessary point while being respectful of the other party? Can we bring about compliance in a way that allows others to maintain their dignity?
These signs were the first two I saw that had a message for me. I'm keeping these thoughts in mind so I can easily remember to implement them.
Stay tuned for Part Two of "Words Matter: How Do You Phrase Yours"