Answers to the Negative to Positive Sentences Exercise from Nina’s Article: “It’s Only Words”, December 10, 2001
1. I can do something about this once I have talked with our V.P. of Human Resources.
Always say what you can do, when, rather than what you cannot do.
2. Have I got you at a good time?
Articulate the kind of time you want it to be…mentioning bad time only draws more attention to the pressure people may feel during their working days.
3. The correct branch for your enquiry is Sales & Marketing.
Point the way ahead for lost clients, customers or internal colleagues. What added value is there in telling the caller they are wrong?
4. Let me rephrase my point. I need to restate my point.
Put the onus on yourself to restate points or ideas that another has not understood. You are the one who is the communicator in this scenario. Communicate in alternative ways until the other does understand you! The original way could easily be interpreted as insulting the receivers’ intelligence. Is that what you want to communicate?
5. Thank-you for your patience.
Always thank the caller for their anticipated patience while on hold…it’s a compliment, a positve way to honour the caller.
6. Feel free to call me with your questions.
Free is an inspiring, green light, word. Ever see anyone make a bee line for the free food samples at the grocery store on a Friday night? If you really dont want the person to call you with any questions, but feel obliged to make those auto pilot noises, stick with the original phrasing! But if you really do want to know about, and answer, their questions, use inviting, positively focused language. Use positively focused words to paint a visual picture of your openness to their call.
7. I’m off site today. I’ll be back in the office on Tuesday. Please feel free to leave your message and phone number and I will return your call by Tuesday afternoon.
If you have to say what your caller would perceive as a negative, eg. I’m out, follow up with some hope. Say when you will be back. Instead of saying, I’ll call you back as soon as possible (what does that mean, anyway?) commit to a time frame for returning calls and then keep your commitment. One of the easiest, most powerful and low cost ways to be memorable, and impress others with your professionalism, and service excellence, is to return your calls as you promise on your voice mail!
8. I’m so looking forward to a new year!
Use moving towards language for your hopes and dreams rather than moving away from languaging. Stay forward looking and horizon focused.