Larsen’s Words That Don’t Work: “You Shouldn’t Have…”

A motivational speaker friend of mine once remarked than when he was a teenager his grandmother gave him a gift.  Repeating what he’d heard his mother often say, he responded with, “Oh you shouldn’t have.” At which point – his grandmother took back the gift and said, “Well, okay then.”

Oh I know. We think of it as a “polite” phrase.  Well, it’s not particularly polite.  It’s not very effective.  And it probably isn’t what you really mean.  Or, if it IS what you mean, then you may have just insulted the other person.  “You shouldn’t have…” are what I call “floppy words.”  They just don’t “stand up” to the task.

How about instead these Words That Work:  “Thank you so much!” or, “How very thoughtful of you!” or, “I appreciate your thoughtfulness!”

Ahhhh.  Clean, simple, effective.  Ya gotta love it.

From your motivational speaker, Linda Larsen, always on the lookout for a better way of saying stuff…


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. Right on Ms. Motivational Speaker Linda! Here’s one I use too: “So unnecessary and yet SO appreciated. Thank you for the time and energy you put into choosing this just for me.”

  2. Hello Linda!!!
    On the flip side of this issue, there have been many times when I have said “Thank you” to someone, only to hear them reply “It was the least I could do…”
    That phrase always gives me pause. I want to say “SO — are you telling me that you thought to yourself ‘Well, I tried but I couldn’t think of anything less significant to do for you?'” 
    We all know that’s not what they meant to convey, but it is what they said, isn’t it?

  3. “Floppy words”?  I LOVE it!  I also love clean, simple and effective communication and YOU are a master at that and have taught me tons.  Thanks for your rooting out of the words and phrases that don’t work!

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