I Don’t Trust Never and Always

When I hear either of these two words used my ears perk up.


“I have never had a problem with anyone”

“I always get to work early”

“I never do a project that I know isn’t going to succeed”

“I always get praised for my work”


I highly doubt those statements.


People have had a problem with you, they are just too polite to tell you; or they realize that you are so self-absorbed that you would never take ownership anyway so why bother.


Every single day you are early?  Not one day in your whole life you were late?  Really?  I would be willing to believe “I make it a point and habit to get to work at least 15 minutes early every day”  Okay then, that is more believable.


Can you pick the winning lottery numbers for me?  If you always know the project is going to succeed then you are amazing.  I go into projects with the best intentions and give it all I have but that does not guarantee success.


Honestly with that last one I just want to ask if they get a gold star, too.  Rephrasing that into, “I am often praised for my work because….” listing your strengths is highly more believable and frankly less obnoxious.


I never thought I would give up pop because I always drank it continuously throughout the day.  Well, almost two months ago that all changed.


When networking, business building or interviewing be aware of the words you choose.  There are no absolutes.  We don’t live in a black and white world.  Putting an absolute in your description or explanation actually lessens your message rather than strengthening it.


You can convey that you do your best, are frequently acknowledged for it but you are also conveying that you are human.


Give me an absolute and I will challenge you on it.


Give me a confident statement as a human aware of the different elements that can affect an outcome and you demonstrate credibility and I am less likely to question you.


One word can change your entire message – choose your words wisely.



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW



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