h/t Zach for sending me this recent Seth Godin post, “Sorry/Thanks” (which is short enough to share here):
If you often find yourself saying “sorry” in a way that doesn’t advance the conversation, it might be interesting to substitute “thank you” instead.
So, “I’m sorry this came out of the kitchen after your other dishes,” becomes, “thank you for waiting so patiently.”
And, “I’m sorry we got disconnected,” becomes, “thank you for calling back.”
It’s a subtle shift, from separation to connection.
I was listening to someone talk about generating referrals for their business, and they mentioned how our default responses in regular conversation are the easiest ones to hijack and improve the conversation.
This person said instead of answering “so how’s your day” with “good!” or “busy!” – he’d use a quick story he wanted the person asking to know about him. In his story, when his client asked how his day was, he’d say, “I just got the most incredible referral from another client, you wouldn’t believe the story about the person I just met.”
Like Seth’s idea, it’s a way to foster connection, just by being aware of a conversational pattern where you can add a quick plot twist in the direction you want things to go in.
Ps. Yes, there’s a media-trained dark side to this too. But, like all things, we must use our powers for good.