What are speech cheat codes?
Before you read I have a confession: I used to dread talking to people.
You know what, who am I kidding?
I still dread talking to people. There is a part of me that worries am I going to say some inadvertently offensive (When I’m offensive I want it to be deliberate). What if there’s an awkward silence?
Over the years I have made it part of my mission to get better at talking to people. As I have learned there have been certain patterns that crop up and there are certain phrases you can use.
What I’m going to share with you is a couple of speech cheat codes. Now, they’re effective but they’re not magic. They will help you navigate conversations but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to listen and respect people.
A quick note on this before you dive in: as you read this, there will be some of you saying “This is all bullshit” and who knows, maybe you’re right. One thing I’ve noticed is the people who are most resistant to believing these speech cheat codes work tend to be the most susceptible. If you find yourself scoffing at some of what you read ahead, ask yourself the following: Are you sure these phrases haven’t been used on you before?
Before you begin
This post contains affiliate links.
If you buy something through one of those links, you won’t pay a penny more.
I’ll get a commission which goes towards keeping Kieranmajury.com going.
Thank you for understanding.
Speech Cheat Codes #1 “It must be hard for you.”
This one I got from a book by lawyer Gerry Spence.
I can’t recommend the book it gets a bit weird in places: “Go to a forest, take off your shoes and yell “Here I am Mother!” at the wind”. Em, thanks Gerry we good.
“It must be hard for you”, is the only useful bit of info contained in the book.
How it works
Everyone feels like they’re going through a struggle. From the richest to the poorest to all that’s in between.
You can help people let off a little steam by using this phrase. I would advise you don’t use it in a vacuum. Listen to the person and bring their experience into it, so they feel heard.
Here’s an example “It must be hard for you, organising meetings above your pay grade while trying to make time to learn a new instrument”. Does that make sense?
Speech Cheat Code #2 “Thank you,” instead of “Sorry.”
This is one I get the staff to do.
My team have adopted it, and they’ve noticed the change in attitude from customers. I forget where I heard this, but it’s been another lifesaver.
You might apologise at the drop of a hat. Sorry to hear that.
Here’s the thing, I’m not a fan of apologising. Not because of pride but because sometimes I’m not sorry.
Sometimes it’s no one’s fault, and sometimes there’s nothing to apologise for.
There’s also a small percentage of people who will not take an apology in good faith. What I mean by this is you apologise, and they will exploit try and you. “If you really are sorry you’ll give me some money”. You are sorry so why aren’t you paying up?”
Instead, use “Thank you”
When you say thank you puts the onus on the other person to be mature. “Thank you for waiting,” instead “Sorry to keep you waiting,”. “Thank you for being so understanding,” instead of “Sorry about the inconvenience”. Hey, thank you for trying this one out.
Speech Cheat Code #3“You’re not going to like this”
Here is one I sort of discovered on my own. I got it from my sister.
My sister has a tendency to start of sentences, “No offence but,”. She would then proceed to tell you how tacky your house is. She might tell you your dress sense should get you and your family euthanised.
My sister has been referred to as a real charmer. I would also have people recommend me stuff, “Kieran, you’re going to love this,”.
Any friends nearby who heard someone utter the unfortunate phrase would laugh. Why, because they knew more often than not, I would hate whatever it was.
Now here’s the thing, if I had discovered it on my own would I have liked it? Did I hate it because it was good or because I don’t like it when people presume to read my mind?
It’s a real chicken and egg scenario.
For the record, it feels like it’s because people don’t like to think they are predictable. Inside us, we all have this intense dislike of being told what to do.
Sometimes to soften the blow, you use the expression “You’re not going to like this,”.
You could use a more extreme version “You’re going to kill me,”.
People don’t want to be viewed as angry or grumpy, especially not a predictable grump so they’ll be more chilled out.
Speech Cheat Code #4 “It feels”>, “I think.”
This one came from the Chris Voss book, Never Split the Difference.
Substituting “I think” with “It feels” has proven useful when trying to assert my own position on things.
When you use “It feels,” you are subtly removing yourself from the equation.
People will think you’re being more objective than if you were using “I”.
You’re removing your ego when you use it.
This phrase is one that takes effort on my part I’ll start with “I think,” then go back and correct myself. Using it feels is far better than what I think.
Even if you go back and read over this article, you’ll notice instances of me using this.
You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it feels better, doesn’t it?
Speech Cheat Code #5 “Would you mind” + “because” = mind control
This one isn’t mine, I’m nowhere near that smart.
It’s from Scott Adams’ book How To Fail At Everything And Still Win Big.
It’s another game-changer.
You use the expression would you mind, and in most circumstances, people don’t mind.
This works so well it almost seems unfair. You’re allowing the person to say no, but for some reason, more often than not, people always say yes.
Now you will encounter some people who are less than agreeable, and that’s where “because” comes into play. Stick a “because” in there and they cannot resist.
Again I don’t know how this works, but it does.
When I was a general assistant at the cinema, I used this technique to get more loyalty sign-ups. “Would you mind signing up because I can give you discounted tickets”.
Would you mind using “would you mind, because” because you’ll be surprised at the effectiveness of this phrase.
There you have it, did you find it useful?
Try and work in these phrases the next conversation you have, even text. You’ll be suprised at how effective they are.