Let Me Be Clear – (I’m Full Of Sh*t!) – What Not To Say When Trying To Win People Over

“The honest truth is…I’m making it up as I go along, and whilst I understand what you are saying, the reality is I haven’t a clue how to answer that question.”

Included above are three of the top ten phrases that are most likely to arouse suspicion in the people you are speaking to, according to research from the Academy of Executive Coaching.

The public have about as much tolerance for “qualifying statements” and “managerial soundbites” as they do for being ripped off, having the wool pulled over their eyes, or watching the Chuckle Brothers trying to move a piece of wood on endless-loop.

People who trumpet their honesty to all and sundry and ask others to “believe them”, are generally regarded as dishonest and treated with disbelief, the AOEC say.

Keep it simple, stupid, is the advice loquacious charlatans ought to take, the research suggests, with 83% of those surveyed by the AOEC saying they preferred people to express themselves using simple words and phrases, rather than disguising bad news behind complicated, meaningless phraseology.

57% believed that short, concise answers to questions is preferable to going into minute detail.

“If someone repeatedly has to reassure you that what they are saying is true, that is an instant red flag that they are trying to mislead you”, says AOED CEO Gina Lodge. “A long, complicated answer is seen as trying to find a way to avoid telling the truth without actually lying.”

Go on, admit it, you thought you were being too-clever-by-half, right?

In future, try prioritising “emotional openness, calm rationality and benevolence”, because “displays of aggression, competitiveness and outspokenness” will only result in onlookers mistrusting your words.

Now, want to hear the truly scary thing – apparently, Donald Trump is a master of manipulation thanks to his ability to use emotional language. He often refers to how the press are “mean” to him, and this, far from appearing immature or babyish, actually draws people to him.

Well, we all feel a little bullied sometimes, so I guess we identify when a big flame haired bully like Trump also admits to having his moments of self-doubt.

“The boardroom has traditionally been a very aggressive, competitive space”, says John Blakey, author of the trusted executive, but “ideas of benevolence are becoming more and more important.”

Someone needs to tell Sir Alan Sugar, before it’s too late.

Here’s the full list of say-this-and-you’re-screwed no-nos:

  1. If I’m honest…
  2. Let me be clear…
  3. Believe me…
  4. The honest truth is…
  5. The fact is…
  6. To be fair…
  7. In terms of…
  8. The real issue is…
  9. I understand what you are saying but…
  10. In all honesty…

 

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