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Make Business And Relationships Stronger With One Magic Phrase

Relationships need maintenance, but sometimes it’s hard to say what we need to - even moreso when mixing business and friendship. Here’s a magic phrase, and useful technique, that will help.

By
Stever Robbins
6-minute read
Episode #416

Bernice suggests she and Melvin work with the magic sentence at a mid-week lunch check-in. And indeed, she suggests they check in every week. If there’s nothing to say, they can just enjoy lunch together. If there are issues to resolve, they can address those. Melvin agreed, though he was a little apprehensive. What if a difficult subject came up? Bernice is rather famous for her temper.

This is why how you do your check in is just as important as doing it.

Deliver Your Statement in a Positive or Tone-Neutral Way

When expressing yourself, it can be easy to blow up and deliver your message angrily. But that rarely solves the issue.

It’s Wednesday, and it’s time for Bernice and Melvin’s check-in. Bernice wanted to jump right into the conversation guns blazing. “What I am afraid to tell you right now is that we lost a ton of flower orders, and this month’s revenue will not be enough. And it is all because your stupid system doesn’t work.”

Woah! Bernice! Back off! Just using the “What I’m afraid to tell you” phrasing isn’t quite enough. Delivery matters! Plan your delivery, as well as your words.

When expressing yourself, it can be easy to blow up and deliver your message angrily. But that rarely solves the issue, and ends up making everyone feel bad. Instead, try to be as neutral or as positive as you can when telling your partner what’s up.

Bernice’s new version might be, “What I am afraid to tell you right now is that we lost a ton of flower orders, and this month’s revenue will not be enough. It’s your fault because of the issues in the system.” But she said the phrase in her head first, in the nicest voice she could possibly use.When expressing yourself, it can be easy to blow up and deliver your message angrily. But that rarely solves the issue, and ends up making everyone feel bad. Instead, try to be as neutral or as positive as you can when telling your partner what’s up.

People react to the emotion in your voice. If you sound mad, it triggers the other person’s Lizard Brain. They’ll suddenly bare their fangs and go for the jugular. So deliver your phrase in a voice tone that won’t upset them. Rehearse it in your head with difference voice tones, and then deliver it in a tone-neutral way. And remove adjectives like “stupid.” Just state the facts.

By removing the judgmental words and aggressive voice tone, Melvin would be able to hear her message. But there’s still more room for improvement.

Own Your Own Feelings to Express Yourself Better

It’s tempting to stick to the facts, and assume that our emotions don’t matter in solving the problem. But checking in is a process of expressing yourself fully, so you don’t blow up later. Expressing yourself means recognizing what you feel so you can own your emotions - then name them.

Here’s how it sounds. “What I am afraid to tell you right now is that we lost a ton of flower orders. I am scared and worried that this month’s revenue might not be enough. It is your fault because of the issues in the system.” 

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About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.