magic words of the week assume nothing

Assume Nothing

I’ve found a subtle, powerful trick for better conversations and relationships.

It’s simple, but not easy.

It’s a guideline I learned from the practice of Circling, a relational meditation I deeply enjoy. 

The practice: Assume nothing. (Or at least, notice your assumptions and try to assume less.)

Compare: “What’s wrong?”

To: “You seem sad. Is that true?”

The first question assumes that someone’s posture, expression, or actions are indicating a problem or a particular emotion.

The second option starts with a reveal — my story about what’s going on. Then I check in to find out how that matches with their experience.

As I said, the difference is subtle. 

But make no mistake: there is a difference. And I’ve found it meaningful.

I’m humble and curious in the second question.

It leaves room for what’s true over there.

It leaves room for me to be wrong or surprised.

Try it?


BONUS: There’s also a more tactical meaning of today’s magic words.

Don’t assume people in your audience know what you’ve already said.

Any piece of content someone comes across — a social media post, an email, a blog — might be the first time they’re meeting you.

Don’t assume they’ve seen the other pages on your website.

Don’t assume they’ve read parts 1-4 when you send part 5.

Give people the clues they need to catch up if they’re entering midstream. (There’s a reason TV shows start with “Previously on….”)

Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. (Within reason.)

Marketing is an exercise in memorization anyway. So say it again.

Make each piece of content clear, and make sure it can stand alone.

To better communication,


PS – There’s still time to join my coaching room at the StoryBrand Marketing Livestream, September 13 & 14. Scholarships applications are closed, but you can still get in on 2 full days of fabulous teaching by the StoryBrand team, plus personalized coaching from me. 

By the end of the workshop, you’ll finally know the right words to attract even more customers. Register here, then email me so I can make sure you’re in my coaching room! 

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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