Deal-Killer Phrases

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Those who underscore


their trustworthiness– 


are probably dishonest!



I get tired of having people raise my skeptical right eyebrow with the distracting words they use (and sometimes the distracting ways they deliver them), instead of giving me cause to pay attention.

Am I alone here, or do you ever experience the same thing? What is it, do you think, that they think they are communicating?

I recently heard a top executive start out five (5) sentences with, “To be perfectly honest with you, I . . .” which, of course, gave me cause to pause, and doubt everything that followed. I recall scores of discussions with ineffective sales people who peppered “Trust me . . .” into every few sentences. [Shurrrre I will!] 

Rarely, methinks, doth Shakespeare haveth any consequence of business value, but “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” (from Shakespeare ‘s Hamlet, Act III, scene II), doth come to mind.


Okay, okay, enough doth! C’mon, people, trust me when I tell you that all of us carry little deal-killer phrases around in our pockets. We keep these pet phrases well-oiled and ready to drag out onto the front lines whenever the going gets tough.

When does this happen? When we get paranoid and start thinking a credibility erosion is taking place — especially in dealing with key customers, key suppliers, key investors and lenders, and, generally, anyone up the ladder. . . any ladder, real or perceived.

The nervousness sets in, breathing and heart rate quicken (usually accompanied by thoughts like: I don’t want to lose this opportunity; Let me underscore my honesty.)

So, now, on the brink of losing, the person re-groups and blurts out:

“You can believe me when I tell you that . . .”



Worse than that, of course, is when phrases like this become habitual or routine expressions. There are just so many times you can hear, “Now, here’s the truth, I . . .” before you start thinking: “Hmmm, is she lying all the other times she speaks, and is only truthful when she asserts that she is?” 

“Are you kidding me?”

“No. I’m gonna be honest with you . . .”


(So, let’s see, if this statement that he says is an honest one is,in fact, an honest one, what about all the other statements? They were all dishonest?)


Most of this is processed in our unconscious minds, so it’s a bit difficult to catch ourselves without getting some trusted help. If there’s no one you can trust, let me be truthful with you and suggest that a good old-fashioned tape recorder can accomplish the job.

Just talk to someone and record yourself. Besides the shock of hearing how many er’s and um’s tumble out, pick up on the assurances of trust and honesty. Does it work? You’d better believe it! Really. Honestly. No kidding. Serious.

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

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