Top Ten Things Not to Say
1. That isn’t my problem. If you followed the rules and turned this in on time,
you wouldn’t have to rush around right now.
2. What is an emergency to you; isn’t an emergency to us. We will get to you
when we have a chance
3. That person isn’t here today. We aren’t just waiting around to solve people’s
problems the minute they have them. You need to make an appointment.
4. That’s not our office. Hold and I will transfer (click).
5. There is nothing I can do to help you.
6. Maybe you should take a break from college. Coming to school is a right, not a
7. Sometimes we don’t answer the phone on the first ring, you know? We have
other people who are calling us too.
8. If we made that exception for you, we would have to make it for everyone.
9. If you were here on time, maybe we could have helped you. It’s not like you
should have been surprised that you had to take some time and park your car
before coming to our office.
10. You should have dealt with this problem before now. If you did, I would have
been able to help you.
Instead, Try These
1. I can see you are upset. Tell me about you are trying to do.
2. How can I help you right now to take a step forward in solving this problem
3. What are some things you have tried before that has worked?
4. Is there anyone else (family, friends…) that I can call to see if they can help
you with this process?
5. I see that you are upset. I want to help you solve this problem. Take a
moment to breathe and tell me again what you would like me to do in order
to help you today.
6. While I can’t change this particular rule, let’s look at this problem together
and see if we can’t find another solution for you.
7. I understand this hasn’t been an easy process for you. While I can’t change
the decision about your status, you do have the option to appeal and talk to
my supervisor about the problem you are facing. That may help.
8. I know this can be hard. I have a student in school and had to help them fill
out all these forms. Let’s look at this together and see if we can’t make a dent
in the paperwork.
9. I’m sorry. You should not have been treated that way. Let me try to help.
10. When you yell at me like that, it’s harder for me to try to help you. I can
understand why you are upset, in fact, I would be upset too if I had
experienced what you did---however, I want to help you and I can’t do that if
you are yelling.