Are Small Words Losing You BIG Money?

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Are Small Words Losing You BIG Money?
 
Recently, I was reminded of a true story which took place several years ago whilst pitching to a very important prospect.
In full flow, i was interrupted with the words: “I hope you are always honest with me,”.

Highly confused, I immediately asked for clarification.The prospect once again repeated
 “I hope you are always honest when talking to me, Julian”.

The penny dropped. I had added the filler "to be honest" to the point i was making.

I was completely unaware that I had said it, but a bigger problem was that my prospect had picked up on it and appeared to be irritated by it.

As the meeting continued, I tried to put the comment to one side but i couldnt help but think that i should have known better. At the time, i was aware of the pitfalls of time-fillers in the communication process and how they can instantly destroy your personal image and damage credibility.  

I couldn't stop myself from thinking:
Could 3 words be the difference between winning and losing this client?

Since then i have compiled a mini-list of some of the most common fillers I have heard among Chinese and Foreign speakers:

Universal: Erm, um, er, at the end of the day, whatever, basically,obviously
USA: Like, you know, I mean, I am just saying, literally, sort of
UK: To be honest, honestly speaking, to be fair, truthfully,
Chinese: 然后, 就是说, 那个

So how can these fillers be reduced? Answer: Be more self-aware....
1.    Record your voice during interpersonal communications in the office. This could be phone calls, meetings or even presentations. Any smart phone will have this technology. Note: You may not legally be able to do this in every situation.
 

2.    Listen more to your WeChat voice recordings -these vocal habits are natural and therefore will likely be present in your personal communications and interactions too.
 

3.    Ask a colleague for support/seek feedback– encourage a feedback culture in your organisation with colleagues and peers. In this example, unusually i was able to get this from a client.
 

Fortunately, this was no horror story and it ended on a happy note with the client putting multiple training sessions our way and remaining with us since.
 
Nonetheless, it was an interesting learning experience and like who knows, at the end of the day, next time, I might not, honestly speaking, have been so fortunate to have landed the prospect you know.