When "It Is What It Is..." Just Isn't.

We’ve all heard a certain handful of common phrases in our professional lives – and if you’re anything like me, your skin starts to crawl because of it.  Before you fire off your next quick text or email – here are a few phrases to avoid.

In business today, many people are constantly “reaching out” to “touch base” intending to “circle back” in a mundane attempt to generate a positive response to their queries.

Unfortunately, their actions often generate a neutral to negative feedback leaving their credibility shaken and their correspondent annoyed.

The use of passive voice, arcane sayings (that actually say nothing), and imprecise questions can often result in an unworkable situation.

Be pleasant but direct in dealings.
People appreciate straight talk – something that is so often lacking. Getting to the point of why you are contacting the person should be the next virtue. Most overworked and over-emailed businesspeople are annoyed with the nonsensical clutter and just want to know what you want.

Avoid arcane sayings and phrases.
In the past few years, the business world has been replete with a virtual cornucopia of these empty words. We’ve all heard them, and also used them from time to time. They demonstrate a level of insecurity and the need to use filler words when direct action is warranted.

For example, many industry leaders will terminate a conversation if the caller offers that rote phrase, “I was just reaching out to you to schedule an upcoming meeting…to touch base about your question to purchase products. Hope we can circle back to our prior position soon.”

This inane, bizarre conversation-ender will guarantee your communication will not be effective and will lower your stature in the other person’s eyes.

Instead, cut to the chase.
“Hello Bob, I was returning your call you placed to me at 10 a.m. yesterday. I was intrigued by your request to purchase 200 units for an initial investment of $50,000. I look forward to discussing it over lunch with you tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Tom’s Steakhouse.” This statement conveys actual information, desire, directive and expectation.

Use active voice, in conversation and writing.
Hemingway said it best in his many works. Avoid empty “be” verbs and use active verbs. Don’t use 20 words when six will do. Speak pleasantly and polite, but also directly. An economy of words saves time and energy, and offers brevity to convey meaning and desire.

Your main goal in communication should always be to leave a positive, memorable effect on the reader.

Remember, sometimes “it is what it is…” simply isn’t.

What are your favorite annoying phrases?

Circle back to me on that,