My friend has a foster boy of about 17. He came over one day asking for work and I asked him with the brutal job of repairing some drywall, sanding, and painting alone. It’s torture, I know! He visited, usually while I was gone, of-and-on, for a few weeks doing nothing but clocking hours. I don’t know why; he has a relatively fair fixed bid, I think my friend was counting hours 🙂
Finally, one day he asked me to come and judge his work. Each area that needed improvement that I pointed out his reply was
“Yeah, I know”
“Yeah, not that look somewhere else”
Finally, I asked him if he really wanted help knowing when he was finished and he looked at me with a puzzled adolescent look and said, “Yes, of course!”
We then had a long conversation (long for a teenager, it was only a few minutes) where I pointed out how I felt every time I offered a suggestion or help and he already knew the answer. It made me feel like my help was not necessary and irrelevant and encouraged me to no longer offer help.
Fortunately, as a coach, I understand when people say phrases like “I know” or “Yeah, Yeah” what they mean is yes, thank you for your help I get it now but is said in a self-preserving way. While the speaker may have an opinion that this turn of phrase is helpful, the reality is that is is very off putting to offer help and be told: “I know”.
Instead, we should merely say “Thank you”. When I first discovered this tip I was surprised at just how often I wanted to reply with ‘I know; myself!
Remember, a legitimate thank you is one of the most powerful phrases we have. Use it; be generous and forthcoming with your thanks for all the help you receive. You will find, the more thankful you are for the help the more help you will receive!