1. I need your help. When approaching a service agent or receptionist, this opening line appeal to someone’s instinctive helpful nature. You’re likely to get a better response (and better service!) if you use this line.
2. You don’t know me, but. Be honest. Don’t pretend to be someone’s best friend. Especially on the phone, help someone know right away that you are calling as a stranger who hopes to become a friend.
3. I don’t know anybody here. Especially at an event where you don’t know anyone, use this line to disarm others’ preoccupation. It’s honest, fun, and if you pick the right person, they might reciprocate and become your frist friend!
4. I don’t know what that means. It shows that you’re listening. You’re not too proud to admit you don’t know everything. You’d like to learn more. This approachable, humble phrase also demonstrates interest in the other person.
5. I’m new here/this is my first time. Again, this appeals to someone’s helpful nature. Give them a chance to introduce you to others. Surrender yourself and they’ll usually help you out.
6. Hang on for ten seconds. Especially on the phone, this tells someone that you really will “be right back.” With the limited time each person has to talk to you on the phone, sentences like this speed it up. They will usually count, too, just to see if you really come back in 10 seconds. Remember, specificity = credibility.
7. Let me give you an example. Keeps someone engaged, helps he or she follow you and the conversation. Be sure to offer an example as support for your point.
8. Welcome in. In all situations – at a table, in a room – use these two words to show approachability and hospitality. It’s amazing how much friendlier “Welcome in!” is than “Hello!”
9. Drop me a line. This covers all mediums of communication and therefore leaves it open for someone to reach you however they prefer. It’s also appropriate phrasing for our times: casual, cool and informal.
10. You’re my hero. When someone goes out of there way to help you, this beats “Thanks!” any day.
11. Here’s what I learned. People don’t care what you know, only care what you learned. Tell them.
12. It’s my pleasure. This beats “Your Welcome” any day. Don’t believe me? Go to the Ritz. They love this phrase.
13. I’m not saying no TO YOU, I’m saying no FOR ME. Help them understand why you say no without making them feel rejected. Thanks, Jack Canfield.
14. I’m not comfortable with that. This is a good enough reason to object to anything because comfort is everything. And people won’t inquire WHY it’s not comfortable, they’ll respect your choice. You don’t have to defend it.
15. I disagree. These two words say it honestly and directly. Pause for two seconds, get their attention and then explain your point.
16. I don’t know, but I can find out. It’s OK not to know everything. But it’s also OK to tell someone that they’re question is important enough that you will go out of your way to find the answer for them.
17. So, to answer your question. After a long-winded answer, use this to keep your conversation partner on point.
18. Good answer. My friend Jeff does this and I love it. It reassures and affirms me. Almost like “my answer” was good simply because it came from me.
19. You got it. I once had a waitress in a hotel lobby that said this for everything. I don’t know why, but it made me feel great. I use it all the time. There’s just something about it.
20. Right away. People don’t have to wait. They get it now. Few service professionals use this, but it’s amazing.
21. You better believe it. A favorite of Cosmo Kramer, this shows confidence in your points and beliefs.
22. That’s just the way I do business. This phrase helps you keep it real and assures that others respect your choices.
23. I never thought of it that way. Most people are too proud and too close-minded to show openness to new ideas. This phrase compliments someone and shows lack of judgment. What’s more, it offers your willingness to hear someone out. (It’s amazing how few people say this.)
LET ME ASK YA THIS… What’s your best phrase that pays?
© 2006 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of three books and a professional speaker who helps people maximize approachability, become unforgettable and make a name for themselves. To book Scott for your next association meeting, conference or corporate event, contact Front Porch Productions at 314/256-1800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org