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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Enhance Your Image Through Your Words

Stress – it can get the best of us. Especially when there are stacks of papers and files on our desk that never seem to get smaller. Unfortunately, too many of us, from the low man on the totem pole to the big-wig on top, openly profess our frustrations to anyone that crosses our path.

As professionals, we must keep in mind that what we say effects how people view us – both our capabilities and weaknesses. What follows are some phrases that definitely don’t enhance your image, and what would be a better approach to the same situation, regardless of the frustration brewing within.

• I’m too busy. / I don’t have time. / I’m swamped.
You’ve just conveyed to your boss or employee (or even your client, God forbid) that you can’t manage your time very well. Instead, when someone brings you a task, check your calendar and your To Do List and accept the task willingly. For example: “I’d be glad to take care of that for you and I can have it done by next Tuesday.”

• It’s just one of those days. / Things are crazy here. / You’ve caught me at a bad time.
No one listens at all when these things come out of your mouth. Why? Because they’re likely feeling the same way you are, overloaded with lingering deadlines, but are refraining from complaining about it. They have no remorse for the fact that today just isn’t your day. It’s best to not complain at all, at least not out loud to your co-workers or staff. Now, complaining to your spouse when you get home about how terrible your day was… that’s probably an appropriate venting remedy.

• I’m waiting to hear back from someone.
If possible, avoid this comment all together, especially when it comes to clients. It’s hard, I know. Especially when you’ve called every day for the past two weeks and get nothing but voicemail boxes. I’ve been there. There are many attorneys who just won’t return a legal assistant’s phone call. But keep trying and ask for an assistant if you can’t reach anyone. And when the client calls asking for a progress report, let them know that you are giving the matter your full attention and will give them an update as soon as possible.

• Don’t quote me on this… / You didn’t hear this from me…
Uh, yes they did hear it from you. This is something you run into quite often as a legal assistant because potential (or current) clients are always asking you for advice so that they don’t get charged for the attorney’s time.

Best thing to do when in doubt of the facts, or if there is any fear about what you say getting back to your boss or another client, is to not share it at all. Let the client know that you will touch base with someone who is more knowledgeable on the situation and get the correct information or have them call the client instead.

It comes down to the fact that you need to be fully aware of the picture your words paint to your clients, employees and co-workers about you, your abilities and your company. So think before you speak and stick with the positive.

Source: Personal Report for the Administrative Professional (sample issue) – Avoid words that mar your image

Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
Fire Bad Clients to Increase Profits
Communicating Competence
An Interesting Way to Win Potential Clients
How Accessible are You?
Good Listening Skills Mean Success

By Michelle Cramer
Monday, May 28th, 2018 @ 12:07 AM CDT

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