10 Phrases You Should Start Saying More Often at Work

Interpretive Development Program

Updated Interpretive Leadership

According to Marcel Schwantes who is the Principal and Founder of Leadership from the Core, “in the context of conversations, there are certain undeniable phrases that, if we use them more often, will result in others perceiving us in a way that will build bridges and increase trust.”

Listed below are 10 phrases that Schwantes says, “If your ego doesn’t get in the way, any one of these is a great way to build trust at work.”

  1. “That was my fault.”  – Admitting to being human and making mistakes has been found to actually increase trust.
  2. “I can’t tell you how much [something performance-related] meant to all of us.” – Acknowledging others for doing a challenging task or for their specific work performance is critical for human motivation.
  3. “I loved the way you handled that.” – By praising people for character traits, you reinforce the cultural behaviors that make the company a great place to work.
  4. “Can I get your advice on this?” – There’s this false notion that people who ask for advice are perceived as less competent. To the contrary, research has linked people that ask for advice to being perceived as more competent.
  5. “I’m happy to see you!” – Often used as a greeting phrase, when done with the proper and enthusiastic voice tone and body language it’s packed with deeper meaning that positively elevates the other person (and makes you look and feel good).
  6. “I trust your judgment.” – Trust is a two-way street. By extending it to others on your team, they’ll be more inclined to return the favor and trust you back.
  7. “What was the highlight of your day (or week)?” – This encouraging question puts the conversation on a positive note right off the bat, giving the other person a chance to reflect on something he or she is excited about.
  8. “I couldn’t have done it without you.” – This is another great way of saying thank you to someone for going above and beyond, especially if it made you look good. Saying it publicly in front of peers is especially gratifying — it puts the other person on the pedestal he or she deserves.
  9. “What can I do to help?” – This phrase can move mountains when deadlines are due, stress is high, and desperation is setting in. It demonstrates action by genuinely having the backs of fellow co-workers.
  10. “Tell me about why …” – It’s not a secret — people love to talk about themselves. By drawing attention to them and their story, you make connections.


Schwantes, Marcel. “10 Phrases You Should Start Saying at Work”. Inc., 29 Nov. 2017. Read the article.

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