This post is part of our Monthly-ish Tips series.

I’m on a Southwest flight at the time of this writing, where employees are known for taking creative license with the more mundane aspects of the job, including on-board announcements. The flight attendant who just delivered the usual stuff prior to takeoff did something we should all do.

She was going through the spiel that those of us who fly regularly can probably recite verbatim (and therefore usually don’t bother to listen to):

“Federal regulations require that carry-on items are stowed prior to closing the aircraft door …”
“Your items may be placed in an overhead compartment, or completely under the seat in front of you …”
“Take a moment to review the Safety Instructions card in your seat pocket …”

At one point she inserted, “Blah blah blah” into her patter (literally, those words). She followed that with, “For some of you, that’s the first thing you’ve heard me say.”

Guilty as charged. I hadn’t been listening until my ears heard “blah blah blah” and perked right up.

I spent a little time defending myself (to myself). More importantly, I kept listening.

When she was done, I noted the irony that the only words that didn’t sound to my ear like “blah blah blah” were, in fact, the words “blah blah blah.”

And I got to thinking about all the times clients tune out because we’re basically saying the same stuff over and over—we’re either repeating ourselves or saying nothing distinctive from those who do similar work. Like when we talk about our company background (blah blah blah) or when we answer questions such as, “Why should we choose you?” and, “What makes you different?” (blah blah blah).

Then I got to thinking about the power of saying something distinctive that actually rises above the din. Specifics that come to mind include:

Not only will your clients actually hear you, I bet you’ll have more fun delivering the messages. The Southwest crew always seems to.

Make It Real

This week, look for an opportunity to exchange your usual “blah blah blah” for the Southwest Airlines kind of “blah blah blah.”

Learn More


Read about nine rules for the perfect “pitch,” from our friends at Trusted Advisor Associates, or brush up on intimacy accelerators in Chapter 21 of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook.

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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).