Online Newsletter for Call Center Personnel
Rosanne D'Ausilio, Ph.D. Editor and Publisher
Volume I, Issue 10

Date: June 1, 2000 - Using Muscle Words, Part I

We need cooperation from others to get the things done that we want. An important skill is making requests in a way that invites other people to make commitments that honor those requests.

The goal is to make requests and get responses that help you know where you stand.

First, when you make a request, be specific about time. "I need this report soon, can you do this?" doesn't tell someone when you need it. They say, "Sure," but that can mean any time. Soon, right away, as soon as possible, even right away, all have different meanings for people. To me as 'soon as possible' means when I get around to it; to someone else, it means yesterday.

We call these"fat words." Fat words are vague, ambiguous and general in nature. Tell people your time frame using "muscle words." Muscle words are specific and detailed.

For example, if you tell your boss, "I need to talk with you." She says, "Catch me later." Does it ever happen? No. But if you say, "I need to talk to you. It'll take 5 to 10 minutes. Can we meet before 2 PM today?" The response that you get might be no, but at least you know where you stand, and you can figure out what to do next.

Sometimes we don't ask the question because we're afraid of the 'no.' Yet if you aren't specific when you ask, you surely won't get what you want.

Watch for Part II next month.

Quote of the month:

"I am" is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.


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