Whether you’re the boss, trying to rally the troops at work – dealing with friends – or you just want to make someone’s day, there are some key phrases that have the power to make a huge difference in your life, and someone else’s. These are the big ones to remember:

  • “I was wrong.” In a recent survey, business managers said using this phrase is the number one way to gain respect. We all make mistakes but being able to admit it takes courage, and shows character. It also humanizes you – which makes others feel more connected to you.

  • “That was awesome.” Praise is a gift that costs nothing to give – but is valued by the recipient. No one ever gets enough praise. And even if it’s a month after the fact, people will still appreciate hearing something like, “By the way, thanks for getting my coffee that day when I was really swamped. That was awesome!”

  • “Let me give you a hand.” It turns out that a lot of people hesitate to ask for help, because they think it’s a sign of weakness. That’s why if you just ask “Can I help you?” – most people will reflexively say “no.” Instead, find something specific you can help with. For example, you could say something like: “I’ve got a few minutes. Let me help you finish sorting all those wedding photos.” When you say it that way, experts say your help will feel more like collaboration – meaning people won’t think you’re helping because you feel like you have to.

  • Sometimes the best thing to say is NOTHING. Experts say a lot of us think if we’re upset, frustrated, or angry, that venting will make us feel better. But usually when we say something negative, we just pass our negativity along to everyone around us! Plus, if you criticize people – without thinking about the affect your words will have – you might hurt their self-esteem, and damage the relationship you have with them forever. So, as the saying goes, if you don’t have something nice to say, sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all.