Monthly ArchiveJune 2015

Positive Positioning In Telephone And Text Message Communication

Mark Twain observed that the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between a fire and a fire fly. So when you speak to customers, suppliers, and co-workers on the phone or write to them in a text, commit yourself to using language that indicates you value them.

As an exercise, put yourself in the place of a message receiver and judge how you would react to the following alternative phrasings.

I don’t know vs. Let me make an inquiry and call you back.

We can’t do that vs. Let me tell you what we can do

Hang on a second vs. This might take 3-4 minutes. Do you want to hold or do you want to call me back?

• You’ll have to …vs. Here’s what we ask that you do and here’s how we will respond when you do

Can I put you on hold? I have somebody on my other line… I’ll have to call back. I have an important call on the other line vs. Can I call you back in a few minutes?

Who did you say your name was? vs. Would you please repeat your name?

Sorry I did not call you back yesterday; I was busy vs. Thank you for returning my call. I wanted to touch base with you about….

I called yesterday to see what you guys charge per hour vs. I called yesterday to find out what ABC charges per hour of on-site service.

A key to maintaining positive interpersonal relationships is shaping the language of your responses so they show respect to everyone who hears or reads them.