Most of us have words or phrases that we utter dozens or more times a day without ever considering how our words are being understood.

Instead of saying, “Goodbye”, to her customers as they were leaving, the owner of a small hardware store often told them, “Don’t work too hard”.  After hearing this for several years, one young man asked the store owner, “But, how do I get ahead, how to I reach my goals if I’m lazy?”   Of course, she never intended for her customers to think that she was telling them to “Be Lazy”.  Yet, that is what some of them heard when she told them not to “Work too Hard”.

When asked how he was doing, a hard working realtor frequently said, “Busy. Busy. Busy.”.  One Sunday morning at church, he was surprised to hear that members of his Sunday school class had recently sold their home and purchased a new one.  He thought for sure that they would have asked him to handle their sale and purchase.  Feeling a little hurt, he asked the couple why they had gone to another realtor.  They answered that they thought he was “Too busy” to take an another client.  The realtor thought that he was conveying that he was industrious and that he worked hard for his clients.  But, this was not what his potential clients heard.  Instead they heard that he was too busy for them.

The next time you’re chatting with a client, consider your words carefully, especially those words you use again and again everyday.