Quarantine had just begun over here in Spain. Yet, I was already tired of all the Zoom video calls that I’ve had to partake in.
So, when I received the ultimate “Can I Pick Your Brain?” email, I asked if we could catch up over the phone. Unfortunately, the guy preferred video.
“There’s something cool I need to show you”, he told me.
I still wanted to insist but I already told him that my apartment wasn’t that big. At the same time, you really never know when your youngest son would decide to cry which would make phone calls difficult. So, I just decided to give in.
He gave me a video call the following day. Not even 5 minutes into the call, he was already sharing his screen in the hopes of selling me the product that he was pushing.
At that moment, my knuckles had already turned white. He couldn’t see it of course but I was completely certain that he picked up on it from the expression on my face.
It was a good thing that at that moment, my son suddenly bursted into tears. I was able to end the call without having to cut the person off.
Sometimes people say something that rubs us the wrong way both in “real life” as well as during video calls. And in every call that didn’t turn out so good, there are just as many that turned out splendidly.
This isn’t due to mere circumstance. The reason behind this is that the person said something that touches us deeply.
When it comes to building relationships, it is especially valuable to keep track of the words or phrases that lighten people up or put them down. Afterwards, you can make the decision to either adapt them as habits or forget about them altogether.
The world has definitely become weird in the last 6 months and as a consequence, we had to make video calls a new norm. In line with the numerous video calls that I had to participate in, I decided to collect all the kind doubtful statements that I’ve heard people tell me during these calls.
Below are 7 phrases that I’ve heard people say that made me like them in almost an instant.
1. “Can You Repeat That Please? I Want to Write It Down.”
I’ve heard this phrase being said to me multiple times during my video calls. And each time, my heart melts.
Aside from that, it also gives you the impression that the person you are talking to is open-minded and curious.
“That’s an excellent way to look at things. Let me just write it down for one second”.
“That’s an interesting way of viewing things. Let me write that down”.
“That’s a wonderful idea. I’m going to write that down”.
We all love compliments. It makes us feel appreciated for our appearance or fashion taste. The same goes for acknowledging intricate designs or paintings of an apartment.
But all of those things cannot compete with complimenting someone for their brilliant mind.
2. Thanks for Asking
I met a new friend Jake Daghe and the first time that he gave me a call, I noticed that whenever I asked him a question, before he gave me an answer, he would first pause and say “thanks for asking”.
When I asked him about this habit, this was what he told me:
“I once had a mentor. He told me that one of the best ways to instill value in a person would be to ask questions. People hold a lot of pride for being able to answer questions despite how ordinary the question may seem. But if someone asks you a question and you respond with gratitude, not only do you give the person an answer, but you also make the other person feel important”.
I don’t know if you like Jake or not, but I am willing to bet that after you’ve read this, you are going to want him on your side from now on.
“Thanks for asking, I’d love to give you a tour this weekend”.
“Thanks for asking, it’s just a little something that my grandfather taught me”.
But most importantly, saying “thanks for asking”, is most valuable when you have to decline a certain request from someone.
3. Sorry I Interrupted You, I Get Excited. Please Continue
The silver lining about having to pick up Zoom or regular phone calls is that you realize how often you tend to interrupt people when they are speaking. This happens a lot when you are talking about a topic that you are passionate or excited about.
But just a few weeks ago, I happened to be on the receiving end of an interruption with Marina Glazman. After realizing that she has interrupted me, she said something that made me smile.
“Sorry if I’m interrupting so much. I get really excited sometimes when talking about something I care about. It’s a bad habit of mine. I need to learn when to shut up. Please continue with what you were saying and know that you are free to call me out the next time I interrupt again.”
I’m pretty sure that you like Marina’s vibe similar to how Jake let you with the “thanks for asking” example.
“Sorry to interrupt, I’m really into this topic”
“Sorry to interrupt, I’d love to hear what you have to say next”
4. I’d Love Your Input on Something
Many experts recommend that if you want to connect with people, you can start by asking them if they are facing any challenges. It is easy to convince yourself that to connect with someone but to convince the other person, they have to see first that you are willing to help them out. You can only do that if you know what they are struggling with.
Unfortunately, not everyone would be willing to share problems with someone they don’t know well. The good news is that there is a simple but effective way to get people to open. You just have to flip the script. Share some of your own struggles and then ask them for advice.
“As someone who has sound experience on investing, what resources would recommend a beginner to get on board as well?”
“As someone who has experienced a lot of hardships, what would you recommend to help people become more resilient?”
When you demonstrate that you don’t have all the answers, people will begin to like you more and will be more inclined to connect with you. At the same time, you might find that their answers are something that is useful for you.
5. I Know I Shouldn’t Complain
There was this executive at a magazine that I wanted to get into contact with. When she finally gave me a call, I wasn’t in the best shape. My nerves were a wreck.
Luckily, after exchanging hellos, she told me this:
“I know I shouldn’t complain but today has been challenging for me. If I end up saying things that don’t make sense, please just give me a pass.”
Before you know it, the two of us were venting with regards to our experience with COVID-19 and how it flipped our lives. Eventually, the call became more relaxed.
“I hate to complain but the last few days have rough and I could really use an ear”
“I know I shouldn’t complain and I love my job, but…”
Life is on edge right now and everyone is practically going through the same thing. Sometimes, venting out your frustrations and letting others do the same is a great way to build strong bonds.
6. I’ve Been Sick of Video Lately but This One Was Fun
This was my wife’s idea. I asked her for some suggestions on what people like to hear during video calls.
“I don’t usually laugh like this on a video call. This one was a lot of fun”
“I don’t remember enjoying myself this much on a video call. Let’s do it again sometime”
At first, it may seem like a form of flattery but this is effective. People tend to like you more when they know that you like them too. That is one of the basic fundamentals of social psychology. So, if you enjoyed talking with someone, it is a good idea to let them know.
7. Do You Mind If We Turn Off The Video
I live in Catalunya. So, every time my kids get on a video call with my parents, I can’t help but feel grateful for the technology.
But not every conversation or interaction has to be via video. You know this. We know this. Everyone knows it. This is especially true if the call was scheduled early in the morning.
However, video calls have become a sort of formality for people. That doesn’t mean that the person you’re talking to wouldn’t prefer to talk with you without the video camera.
“If you prefer that we make do without the video, just let me know”
“Would it be cool if we just talk? I’m a bit zoomed out for the day”
“Since the presentation is finished, would it be cool if we turn off the video? It might give us a much-relaxed atmosphere”
If you are someone who doesn’t feel completely comfortable in front of the camera, you’ll instantly grow a liking for people who say these phrases. By asking them what they prefer, you might just be giving them an opt out away from the camera.
Many people hold the saying “Actions speak louder than words” and there is a lot of truth in this statement. Right now, however, the outside world is in control since we can only partially see people up until the shoulders through video calls.
So, if these phrases made you smile, you might as well sprinkle them over your video conferences whenever you get the opportunity.
At the same time, you should also keep track of phrases that people don’t like very well. Not saying the wrong thing will not necessarily make people like you. But it will prevent misunderstandings from ensuring and that helps a lot.