1. “If you don’t hear anything else I say…”

If you don’t hear anything else I say, remember this phrase is definitely one of the most stupid phrases a person can use when making a point.


I don’t understand people that spend a lot of time writing and rehearsing a speech just to get on a stage and ruin it with one stupid sentence.

If you don’t want them to remember anything else, then just say that one phrase and then sit down and shut up.

I get what you are trying to do, but you just aren’t doing it right. Don’t worry; I’m here to help.

You want to place emphasis on an important topic. You want to drive a point home. So do that.

Try instead saying:

  • One of the most important things I want you to remember is…
  • In your notes, be sure to highlight…
  • When you brag about how great my speech was, be sure to tell them I said…

Just think about what you are saying and stop using that stupid phrase.

2. “I don’t know how to tell you this…”

I don’t know how to tell you this, but this is another stupid phrase. You just said that you didn’t know how to say it, but you literally just said it. So now I’m spending more time replaying how silly that sounded than actually listening to you.

Often this phrase is used when someone is trying to stress a point. For example, I’ve often heard, “I don’t know how to tell you I love you.” Or “I don’t know how to tell you how much this means to me.” But you just did.

Try instead, using phrases like this:

    Saying I love you in words pales in comparison to how I feel…
    This means more to me than words can express…
    I wish I knew better words to say…

3. “You probably don’t know the answer to this…”

You probably don’t know the answer to this, but you are my last resort, so I’m going to ask anyway as a last-ditch effort.

Yes, everything after the comma is what I hear you saying when you start with that phrase. I honestly don’t understand why people use this phrase when asking someone for help.

I don’t even need to belabor how stupid this phrase is. Do I?

Might I suggest these encouraging phrases?

  • I have a question, and I’m confident you can help me solve it.
  • You are my last hope. Can you help me figure it out…
  • Where do you think I should go to find it…

4. “Hey, how are you?”

Hey, how are you? I’m only asking you this because I don’t know how to greet someone, so I figured I would just waste time with a meaningless question that no one ever really listens to and responds with reflex rather than emotion.

If you are guilty of saying “how are you” as a greeting, please stop.

Be genuine and create your own greeting that makes people stop in their tracks, look up from their mundane lives, and recognize who they are talking to.

When someone greets you with that useless greeting, be unique and outrageous with your response. Say something other than the usual “fine.”

If you have convinced yourself that you really are asking “how are you,” then be genuine and create your own greeting…oh wait, I already said that. Of course, the same goes for the lame “fine” response.

Ok. Hope that helped.

While I may have exaggerated a little, and I may be the only one that actually stops listening to you, I think you will be well served if you take time to refresh some of these phrases in your vocabulary. But, then, the right people will certainly sit up and notice when the time is right.

What other phrases come to mind that people use without thought or reason? What phrases make you stop listening and roll your eyes?

My communication style changes constantly. I am always alert to what I am seeing and hearing and how people are responding. I’ll share more soon.