Three Ways This Commonly Used Phrase is Hurting Your Reputation…

Perplexed accountant looking at his partner holding huge piles oNobody likes to be a pest or a jerk and in an effort to seem laid back at work many of you say this phrase often, “No rush.” What seems like a harmless phrase is actually really hurting your image. Let me show you how….

Imagine this scenario…

You emailed a coworker, let’s call him Joe, asking him for a file that you need. He didn’t respond to you and after waiting a few hours you decided to drop by his desk. After some small talk, you politely ask him for the file. Joe replies that he forgot about your email and will dig it up for you in the next few minutes. And then you thoughtlessly respond, “Thanks Joe, no rush!”

Why would you say “no rush”? You clearly need the file and you even took the time to walk over to Joe to ask for it. Are you trying to seem nonchalant? To show that you really don’t need the file that bad? Maybe you want to show that you are respectful of your coworker’s time?

Saying “no rush” doesn’t achieve any of this because you already interrupted Joe and you already wasted his time. That phrase just negated all of the importance of your request and here are 3 ways that this phrase is now going to hurt you more:

#1: Makes you a pest, your request is in the “Not Important” bucket yet you keep asking for it.

Joe forgets yet again about the file because your “favorite phrase” gave Joe the mental permission to categorize this task in the “Not important” bucket. The “Not Important” bucket is where tasks go to die (or in simple words – your request is about to be forgotten again and this time for good). To get what you need now you will have to be a pest and that was exactly what you were trying to avoid.

#2: Reduces the importance of your work

Your request to Joe is related to your work and so if you aren’t in a rush to complete your work is it really important? Is it relevant? Aren’t those of us with important jobs always trying to do our work faster and better to effectively compete within our companies and amongst our competitors? Is that not you?

#3:  Makes you seem inconsistent: Is it important or isn’t it?

In sports consistency is king and at work the same holds true. The more consistent you are the more likely you are to be considered for a promotion and a raise, to take on more responsibility and to handle bigger projects. If you state that you need something then please don’t negate its importance with the phrase “no rush” because it will confuse your coworker. When your communication is confusing you are viewed as inconsistent.

All is not yet lost those. There are a few ways to make a request and still show your respect for the other person’s time. Here’s how…

  1. Specify when you need the task completed and then ask if this request is realistic.
  2. State that you know Joe is very busy and you are grateful that he is helping you out
  3. Beef up the importance of the request and show the other party that your really need them. Many people are afraid to seem desperate in this situation but if you speak to the value that this individual brings to you and your project you actually stroke his/her ego and he/she is more likely to want to help you.

In summary, save the “no rush” for lazy summer days on the beach otherwise you’ll never get anything done and you’ll hurt your reputation in the process.

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