Bonjour from Paris! Growing up in Australia, Paris always held a romantic allure!
The phrase ‘Ça va bien’ or ‘I am fine’, ‘everything is fine’ is a common response when someone asks how you are here. For me, whether in the romance of French or in English this ‘F’ word -‘fine’- is one of the most frustrating words.
It feels like such a waste of a word, so bland. I know, I know, it’s fairly innocuous if you are talking about the weather (although being caught in the rain on one of those crazy electric scooters on my recent trip to Paris was most definitely not ‘fine’!)… but we use it for everything from ending a work conversation to responding to how we are.
There are so many moments at the end of a conversation personal or professional, be it with a peer, a client, a friend or your manager… especially after a heated conversations with some differences of opinion, where it ends with…. “OK… fine!”
Now, you don’t mean ‘fine’ and they know you don’t mean it’s fine – don’t underestimate how clever we are at picking up other human beings unspoken meanings!
What other possibilities might give you a better result?
Watch this week’s video from Paris for some thoughts on alternatives to the ‘F’ word.
How often do you use the ‘F’ word? Notice the next time you use ‘fine’ and ask yourself, what do you REALLY want to say? Of course, if the answer is a swear word I’m not suggesting that you replace ‘fine’ with another overused ‘F’ word! You know which one I mean! But, there are 171,000 words in the Oxford Dictionary!
Could you replace ‘fine’ with; ‘I am disappointed with that result, but I accept it. You’ll create a much stronger ending to that conversation and in doing so, a much stronger relationship without using the not so well masked ‘fine’.
Could you go a step further and craft an open quality question instead to deepen the relationship to achieve something better? For example, if you didn’t get a promotion, a salary increase or another result that you wanted, could you say:
- How can we revisit this again in the next month? or
- How might I influence your decision in the next quarter or
- What do I need to do to achieve a different outcome in the next 24 hours?
This week’s challenge is – Start noticing:
- How often do you use the word, ‘fine’?
- What is your sub-text behind it? (the other person is definitely noticing that!)
- What is the opportunity that you could take to create a deeper relationship and a different outcome in that situation?
Language is technicolour, it is not meant to be bland, it’s full of nuance and chances for connection, it is meant to bring us closer as human beings.
As always if no one else tells you today, j’ai la gratitude pour toi! (Ok, still working on my French!) I am grateful for you! Thank you for letting me be a part of your day. I challenge you to start using some amazing words this week. Let me know which alternatives you come up with. Thank you for being a part of my world.
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