I can’t decide.
No, those aren’t the three best words in the English language; “I can’t decide” often acts as my worst enemy.
Instead, I think these are some of the “three best words” in English. Let me know if you agree!
I love you. Clearly the three best words in English. No argument here. But what about…
Tell me more. These three words facilitate conversation, revelation, and information flow. I love them because they throw the conversational ball back to the other person while I collect my thoughts. Another advantage is that I don’t have to figure out questions to ask the other person; insteady, “tell me more” lets them think out loud and state their case more persuasively and clearly.
Help me understand… My thanks to Steve Geiger, a boss I had about 19 years ago, for teaching me this phrase. These words work because they imply that it’s not the communicator’s fault that I don’t understand what they’re telling me. I want to understand and I encourage them to help me get their point.
I don’t know. Use these words to save your bacon, if not your face. It’s embarrassing to say we don’t know, but I’ve dug many a hole pontificating a clueless answer or explanation when an honest “I don’t know” would have allowed me to seek a real answer.
Out of scope! These three words are our best defense on projects that are tending to “scope creep.” It’s satisfying to say them and automatically get off the hook for more work with no resources to perform it.
What are your thoughts? What are your favorite “three best words in the English language?” (Don’t worry about the counting factor; remember Joe Biden’s now famous campaign statement about a “three-letter word” that matters most to Americans: J O B S.)