There is a great Mae West quote that has become widely known, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it!”
It seems so simple and straightforward, right? Wrong. So often in life, we just assume the other person will infer our intention, meaning and empathy – or we rely on the trust or rapport we have with that person to work like a pain killer. How you say it is paramount. That includes your choice of words, your tone of voice, your body language, facial expressions, eye contact, the empathetic and active listening skills that come before you open your mouth, and the environment and timing of your message.
Think of the last time you needed to have a conversation with a seller about dropping price, or with a purchaser about offering over the ask in a highest & best scenario. So much more important that what you say to that client in that moment is how, when, who, and why. Take a step back and look at the situation from their shoes, understand the emotional impact of what you are about to say, be empathetic, and keep focused on your ultimate goal coming out of that conversation. What do you want to happen and how does that best serve your client’s interest? You will find you are far more successful in gaining compliance, coming to agreement, and maintaining trust – making all subsequent conversations much easier as well.
Another brilliant woman, Maya Angelou, said it even better than Mae West. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”