“No problem…” it’s a phrase people use pretty often and think nothing of. It’s just two words, it’s not that big of a deal, right? That’s where you’re wrong. If you are a COO, CEO, or any other kind of business leader, the phrase “no problem” has a lot more to it than what meets the eye.
Here is why, as a business leader, you should avoid the phrase “no problem.”
People and Acting on Feelings
People tend to take action based on how they feel unless they are forced into another choice. In business, however, it is unlikely that you can force your customers to like your products. Purchasing decisions are made entirely on how your product makes the customer feel or how the customer feels about the product.
So where does “no problem” come in?
It’s all about the language you use and how that makes the customer feel. You want their experience to be a positive one. That is the principle of marketing. The language you use as a business leader is only as successful as the feelings that are created in the target audience. “No problem” doesn’t create positive feelings. Why is that? Well, that can be answered by another question.
Why Choose Negative Language with your Clients and Team Members?
When you say “no problem,” you are using two negative words in a row. It might seem like an innocent phrase, but the subconscious notices.
No. Problem. Both of those are negative words. Negative phrases, words, or expressions pose several problems in any form of communication, even if their meaning together isn’t intended to be negative. For one, they can lead to a misunderstanding. Take “no problem,” in its literal form. It leaves one wondering, was there originally a problem?
What problem? That question is going to be on people’s minds and make them second guess.
Use Language that Doesn’t Evoke Second Guessing
Your clients don’t want to know or assume there was a problem before (even if there wasn’t one). To avoid this as a business leader, use language such as “for sure,” or “happy to,” or “absolutely.” These are all phrases with the same meaning as “no problem” without the use of negative words. It’s such a small difference, but it still matters!
Positive words endear you and your company to your clients. Naturally, such positive language tends to work in your favor. As a business leader, if you’re using the positive phrases mentioned above, you’re much more likely to dissolve conflict, reduce defensiveness in people, and help to improve communication. They portray you as a credible and respectable person. This makes it much easier for you to drive your agenda home.
As a business leader, when you are addressing your team or clients, you are asking them to take a certain action or accept a certain idea. The safest way to win them over is by taking a friendly attitude. Only positive language can create that image.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.