· Can I ask a question? You don’t have to ask permission; just ask the question.
· I’m sorry to bother you. Why are you a bother? You can say, “Excuse me. Do you have a moment?”
· I was hoping that you could spare a few moments. Same as above. Simply say, “Excuse me. Do you have a moment?”
· Thank you for listening to me. At the end of a presentation, you should say, “Thank you.” This lets the audience know that the presentation is over. You don’t have to thank people for listening to you. Aren’t your comments and opinions worthwhile?
· I will be honest with you. Aren’t you always honest? You don’t need to use this phrase.
· I was just wondering if perhaps. This phrase is a passive way of asking a question or backing into a statement. You can eliminate “I was just wondering if perhaps” and simply ask a question or make a statement. Instead of “I was just wondering if perhaps there will be enough computers for the project?” you can say, “Will there be enough computers for the project?”
Let’s build on this list. I was just wondering if perhaps you would send me your suggestions for the list? No, of course I wouldn’t say that! Please send me your favorite phrases to add to the list. Thank you.
Additional tips on communication can be found in my new book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success (McGraw-Hill)