• Rather than saying "I can’t" or "I’m not able to" when you’re declining a request, focus on the positive
  • Instead try, “Here’s what I can do for you.” That way, you’ve set a boundary with your client or colleague about what you’re not able or willing to do, but you’ve also indicated that you’re willing to find a workable solution.

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These 7 phrases can help you sound more powerful at work

fastcompany.com

"I‘ll find out"
  • Instead of just shrugging off an inquiry about a topic you don't know much about, say “I’ll find out for you,”
  • This gives the other person an assurance that you care enough to go one step further to get the right answer.

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  • Assume there is no problem in asking for a favor and drop "I hate to bother you..." from your language. Just ask for what you need and assume that the person will let you know if the request is too much and respectfully decline.

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"Let‘s solve this"

Instead of saying, “We’re going to address this situation . . . ” try words like solve, fight against, or reduce, which communicate action. Other swaps to consider that are more meaningful and decisive:

  • Instead of “allowed,” try enabled or authorized
  • Instead of “meeting” a goal or expectation, try accomplishing or exceeding
  • Instead of “reacting to” a situation, try responding or solving

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  • For some people, dismissing praise is a knee-jerk response. If they receive a compliment, they water it down by saying, “It was nothing . . .” or “It could be better . . .” Those responses not only make light of your work and ability, but they are dismissive of the person giving the compliment.
  • Instead, thank the individual genuinely and add, “I’m glad you like it”

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"I want to help"
  • Telling someone to calm down is almost a guarantee that they will do anything but calm down.
  • Instead, try validating the individual’s feelings and assuring them you understand. “I can see you are upset, and I want to help” is a good option.

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  • There’s nothing wrong with saying “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you. But saying something like “I’m happy I was able to help you” is more powerful because it leaves a positive impression with the individual that you went the extra mile to help

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