Talk the Talk: Language That Helps Build Business Relationships

Sometimes the way to create great business relationships is by your word choices. The way we talk to people, especially potential clients, can adversely affect a relationship. But there are some key phrases to use to help you network and develop lasting career relationships.
“It is very important to select the right word when building business relationships.  One of the reasons is because all relationships, including business ones, are built on trust.  Trust takes time to develop and it is built upon your words as well as your behavior.  Also, many people are concrete thinkers and literal in language.  That means they take you word for word.  If you use the wrong language and say, ´Oops, I meant…´ they may question your intent,” explains child, couple and family psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish.There are important phrases, reports Forbes magazine, to always use such as “Thank you,” “I Trust Your Judgment,” “I Don’t Know,” “Tell Me More,” “What I Hear You Saying Is” among others. But just using the right language doesn’t mean much if you don´t mean it. “Even more key is the tone and affect with which you deliver these phrases.  You must adopt a genuine tone of empathy and compassion.  This is absolutely the best way to develop, bond, and secure your business relationships.  You can only do this sincerely if you mean it,” says Dr. Walfish, author of The Self-Aware Parent. “Take a hard, honest open look within.  Ask yourself if you like this business associate.  Try to be honest with yourself.  How you truly feel will certainly be communicated in your tone and words.  Be sure to be true and real.”

But sometimes in an overly eager effort to connect, people can say the wrong thing or get too personal. When this happens, don´t wait—address the issues as soon as possible. “The first thing to do is acknowledge out loud that something is going on. Respectfully and kindly state that you sense you may have said something that didn’t sit well with the other person,” advises Walfish. “Ask them if they can help you understand what you said or did that didn’t feel good.” It is important to admit—even in the business world—when you are wrong. “People admire you when you can own up to your missteps and be accountable.  Tell the person you are sorry you used the wrong words to communicate your thoughts, and you would like to repair it,” notes Dr. Walfish. “Invite the other person to tell you (even blast you) about their disappointment, hurt, or anger. When you encourage direct expression of powerful feelings those feelings decrease in intensity.  This is the true road to repair and restoration.”

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