“No” “Stop” “You Can’t”
There are several others of course, but too many times we hear these words and the person saying them is insensitive to their impact.
I went into a fancy coffee shop in an exclusive department store a while back to meet with a client. Upon our arrival I saw that half of the tables were full and the other half empty. As we approached one of the empty tables an employee barked out, “You cannot sit there.” I stood there a bit stunned and as I was calculating my response she said, “We had a leak in the ceiling and needed to close that section.” What’s wrong with this scenario?
The fact that we couldn’t use those tables was reasonable; her approach was not. It was only after my initial reaction (negative) to her first words that I knew why we couldn’t sit there. It would have been better if she originally had said, (in a polite tone) “I’m sorry, but we have a water leak from above and had to close off this section.” Not only would I have understood, but I wouldn’t want to sit there. Your first words set the stage; think first, speak later.