The most important phrase you need for your professional vocabulary

A couple years ago, we brought some improv experts to a team meeting.

We did silly, “non-corporate-y” stuff.

We had fun.

We laughed.

And, I walked away with one of the most important phrases of my professional and personal vocabulary.

I’m really glad you said that.

It’s important to me because ___________________.

We sat in a circle and one person began. He  shared something, and the person to his right used this phrase and filled in the blank.

By the time we had completed the circumference two times, the conversation had taken twists and turns and I found myself tearing up and vulnerable as my turn came around.

This was because the colleague to my left had shared how much she missed her young daughter after returning recently from maternity leave.

And, then I had to speak.

I identified with what she had just shared, and it was important to me on so many levels — her well-being, my own experience, the need to help new mothers return to work, the need for extended parental leave in this country of productivity-obsessed Puritans…and more.

I never would have had this conversation with her (and most certainly with this group) had we not taken 4 minutes for this ‘fun little improv game’.

I never would have encountered the power of this simple, little phrase.

In twelve words (plus a fill-in-the-blank), you too can empathize, personalize, and connect.

From difficult to easy, from confrontational to controversial…this phrase will handle every situation.

It also adeptly challenges the person who uses it to identify at least one thing that is important about what the other person said. It disarms adversarial in one fell swoop. It de-escalates in a single bound.

This is the super-hero of phrases.

And, now, it’s yours.

Watch the magic unfold.


*Photo credit: Photo by on Unsplash

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