Dan Lenard saying something socially acceptable at a VO Peeps gathering last year.
I was thinking about something someone said to me last night at a networking meeting. The person thought they were being complimentary, and I knew that, but it just felt awkward. I’ve been working out a bit more in the past 6 months or so, but no drastic changes really. Anyway, the intended compliment came out as a comparison to some impression of me in the distant past (many many months earlier) and forced me to find some kind of a response, rather than just a thank you.
We have all been guilty of saying things to friends, acquaintances and strangers that should have been better left unsaid – or phrased differently. I would have been very happy with a “You look great!” rather than a “Your face looks thinner.”
I know I have said similar things with similar consequences. The other day I caught myself as I met a colleague who had obviously dropped a lot of weight in recent months. Instead of saying, “You’ve lost so much weight.” or something like that, I simply clasped her hand and said. “You look great!” She was then able to explain what she wanted to explain without any awkwardness.
We all could use a little more “social awareness.”
Found an article by Dr. Travis Bradberry that encapsulates some of the most common conversational pitfalls and suggestions for what to say instead and the reasons why.
I appreciate Number 7 – what to say instead of “Good Luck.” His suggestion to say something like “I know you have what it takes.” is great advice.
However, I am trying to apply it specifically to my career as talent. I may have what it takes, but I may not be the voice in someone’s head this time around.
This is one reason I don’t talk a lot about auditions. People outside my industry, who don’t realize that I audition every day without being the voice in the client’s head will remember that I told them about a cool audition I did to be the voice of such-and-such and then, the next time I see them – could be days or weeks later – they ask me how the audition went. By that time, I have no idea which audition. It is better just to not talk about auditions.
So, if someone does tell me about an audition, I am compelled to respond, In this case, “Good Luck” may be the correct phrase. Especially if said with the right knowing tone. The tone that says, “I know what you are going through.”
But instead, I might say something like, “That sounds right up your alley. Hope you get it!”
Here’s to all of us “getting it” more often!