Tons of people say “no problem” – seems innocent enough, right?
So why should you stop? In business, “no problem” is more than just two words.
It has more meaning and effect on marketing than you’d expect, but how?
The Principles of Marketing
People take action based on how they feel unless they are forced otherwise. In business, however, you are unlikely to force your customers to like your products. It is only accurate to say that purchasing decisions are made depending on how the product makes the customer feel. You want the experience to be a positive one.
That is the principle used in marketing. The language that you use is only as successful as it is capable of influencing the feelings of the people targeted. Why then, would the positive effect be limited only to marketing? Why would you opt to go negative with your clients and team members?
So, where does the phrase “no problem” come into this?
The Double Negative
“No problem” is inherently negative! When you say “no problem,” you choose to use two negative words in a row, even if you don’t intend for it to be negative.
Both “no” and “problem” are negative words. Negative phrases, words, or expressions pose several problems in any form of communication. For one, they can root a misunderstanding. Take the phrase “no problem” in its literal form. It leaves one wondering, was there supposed to be a problem? What problem? What was their involvement?
It is meaningless to tell your clients or team what they don’t want to know–that there was a problem. Rather, tell them what they want to know. Tell them what they need to know or what they’re supposed to know.
What Do You Say Instead?
Jack Daly suggests a better way to go about addressing your team and clients. He suggests using phrases like “for sure,” “happy to,” “absolutely,” “my pleasure,” and other positive words instead of negative.
These positive words endear you to your clients and team. Naturally, such positive language tends to work in your favor. They dissolve the possibility of conflict, reduce defensiveness in other people, and help to improve communication. They portray you as a credible and respectable person and make it easier to drive your agenda home.
When you are addressing your team or clients, you are calling upon them to take a certain action or accept a certain idea. The last thing you want is a bad image. The safest way to win them over is by taking a friendly line. Only positive language can create that picture.
What positive phrases do you say instead of “no problem?”
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 July 2016 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.