Five Words To Avoid In Business

They are common, every day words that seem harmless. Casual words thrown into your client/customer communication. Often, we don’t give them much thought.

But the following five words (and words like them) are killing your position of strength with your clients.

How many are you using?

The Words to Avoid

“I just wanted to see if we could grab lunch.”

“I think this could be a good fit for you.”

“I wanted to see where you stood…”

“I kind of wanted to have a conversation with you about…”

“You’ll probably benefit from this.”

Qualifiers Weaken Your Position

In the last two weeks I’ve heard these words used in actual selling conversations…multiple times. The italicized words are qualifiers. They dilute the meaning of other words used in the same sentence. Qualifiers are in our lexicon and we use them too often when persuading a client to accept an idea or recommendation. Clients of mine who used these qualifiers also desired to be seen as knowledgeable, helpful, insightful and genuine.

Stronger Options

Try these phrases instead: “Let’s grab lunch together.” “This can be a good fit for you.” “Where do you stand with…?” “Let’s have a conversation about…” “You’ll benefit from this.” Job #1 is to hear yourself qualifying your thoughts then, begin substituting more declarative words in their place. I’m not recommending you become presumptuous but rather become more declarative with your conversations as you deliver your ideas to your clients. You will subtly become a better communicator as you consciously choose your words as your client’s trusted partner.

What other words can you eliminate?

12 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    Great advice and I still catch others (myself included) using these qualifiers …. Appreciate the reminder Steve!

  2. Zenebe Gebrehana
    Zenebe Gebrehana says:

    I haven’t seen them this way. I’ll make sure that I take every caution when dealing with our clients.

  3. Birgit Weeks
    Birgit Weeks says:

    Great reminder. I catch myself using those words. This will be on my agenda for my next sales staff meeting.

  4. Jeff Weaver
    Jeff Weaver says:

    Hmmm…it’s as if you’ve been eavesdropping on the coaching conversations between me and my reps! Whether it’s debriefing a role-play or actual customer call, I always point out the use of these qualifiers when I hear them. Thanks for validating that I’m not just being hyper-critical…these little words really do make a big difference!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] tentativeness more that saying “ah or um” throughout a communication. In place of the non-word, put in a pause. You will give your communication more weight. No one wants to sit through a 30 […]

  2. […] This list also reminded me of another blog with a list of words to avoid – but for very different reasons: Five Words to Avoid in Business. […]

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