Just imagine for a moment that the weather has been really good and you decide to have barbecue this weekend. You phone all your friends to invite them over, and one of them says, ‘We have a couple of things to do that day, but we’ll try and come.’
What does that statement mean to you? When I put this scenario to a group of seminar participants, the majority come back with, ‘Your friend’s not coming!’ Some people think the friend might turn up, and the others have no idea.
If you use the word try to another person, the majority tend to hear it as a negative.
‘I’ll try to get this in the post tonight,’ means – you probably won’t.
‘I’ll try and phone you tomorrow,’ means – you probably won’t.
Of course, it all depends on your relationship with the other person and perhaps their tone of voice and their body language, but I repeat; the majority of people hear the word ‘try’ as a negative.
So try is a word to avoid whether you’re dealing with a friend, a customer, a colleague or a member of your staff. It can be replaced with something more honest such as – ‘This is what I can do’ or ‘This is what I’m unable to do.’
Instead of saying; ‘I’ll try and do this for you today.’ Why not say; ‘I’d like to think I could do this for you today, but I will do it for you tomorrow morning.’
You could even be more direct and say; ‘I’m unable to do this for you today, but I’ll be pleased to do it tomorrow morning.’
Customers, staff and all other people would rather know where they stand rather than hear the wishy-washy ‘try’ word.