Here is what to say when you don’t know what to say or find yourself at a loss for words.
We’ve all been there.
- You are involved in an important conversation with a business connection and suddenly you have no idea what to say next in order to move the conversation forward.
- During a conversation with a person you manage, lead, or supervise they respond with something that sounds like an excuse and you want to ensure you’ve understood them correctly before assuming they are making excuses.
- It’s the middle of a team meeting and someone says something that (to you, at least) makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Yet, you want don’t want to sound accusatory or not be a team player. You need more details before responding.
- Your leader says something that you don’t really understand and you need more information without making it look like you are clueless or confused.
- Someone makes a comment that catches you completely off guard and you have no idea how to respond.
Whether it is a personal or business conversation, we’ve all been in a position where we don’t know what to say in response. Being at a loss for words can stall conversations, lead to false assumptions, damage your credibility, and a whole host of other challenges.
The next time you are at a loss for words, try this powerful tool. That’s interesting, tell me more.
This handy phrase can be used in a plethora of situations. Here are just a few:
- When you want to buy yourself some time to gather your thoughts before responding.
- To gain more information or insight.
- To subtly signal to another that you are on to them when they are being intentionally difficult or absurd.
- To help others clarify their own thoughts or to express the more clearly.
- To give others a chance to share their thoughts in a non-threatening way.
- As a way to communicate to others that you value their opinions, thoughts, and insights.
The next time you don’t know what to say or find yourself at a loss for words, try out “that’s interesting, tell me more.” It’s a powerful tool to add to your communication toolkit!
Pamela Jett, CSP is a leadership and communication expert based in Phoenix, AZ. Delivered with energy, humor, and a dash of neuroscience, her latest keynote presentations, The Relentlessly Positive Leader and The Relentlessly Positive Communicator, provide audiences of all types new, evidence-based tools to overcome adversity and challenge .