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In Workplace Communication “Try” Always Comes With a Cost

An email today put me over the edge.

It was an email forwarded to me from a client about an employee whose performance has been challenging of late.

The email read, “Sorry, but I will not be coming in today. I’ll try to check my email later in the day, if you need me.”

The more I hear that word, the more I cringe.

There may be no other word in the English language that commits the communication sin of a “Lack of Specificity,” greater than “try.”

In the movie “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” the character “Yoda” says to Luke Skywalker:

“Try not. Do…or do not. There is no try.”

Peak performance guru Anthony Robbins calls people in his live workshop audiences “losers” when he hears them use the word “try” in his interventions from the stage.

How much do you use the word “try?”

Note that “try” gives you an out.

Try” gives you wiggle room.

Try” is the complete opposite of “communication power.”

Start substituting words and phrases like…

“I’ll do it.”

“You’ll get it.”

“I can do that.”

“Count on me.”

“I’ll make it happen.”

That’s power language!

It allows people around you to know they can count on you.

It will build trust and respect.

It will cause you to have to step up to a higher standard.

It should cause you to follow through more consistently because of the commitment you’ve made (to yourself and others!)

This is communication power for leaders!

Feel free to leave a comment below, I’d love your take and experience with “try.”

’til next time, Communicate With Power!

skip weisman, transforming leadership and workplace communication to deliver champion level results

There are 2 comments. Add yours.

  1. Patrice Dansereau

    Very interesting comment. Indeed, in that context try means’ If I feel like, I may choose to look into this matter…’ No commitment and certainly nothing to build trust in the relationship. Deserves a good on on one meeting with the resource to set expectations.

  2. CJ Rice

    Agreed, the word try could be excommunicated from the business lexicon. Try = second rate commitment. No one appreciates second rate treatment, especially customers.

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