How You Say It

Published by Sidney Meriweather, Director of  First Impressions

“It’s not just what you say but how you say it.”

I can’t remember how many times I’ve had to remind myself of this phrase.

Ninety-nine percent of my job is talking to people. Clients, prospects, and co-workers are just a few of the people I interact with daily. When I talk to these people, I want to share my ideas and answer questions, and I don’t always think about the “how” in the next thing that comes out of my mouth.

If we can learn that the “how” in our words is just as, if not more important, than what we’re saying, we’ll see a real difference in our relationships both professionally and personally.


We only get one chance to make a first impression.

Prospecting can feel like a balancing act. I want to get to know the person sitting before me and get the necessary pieces of information from them to learn about their current situation. Then, I need to ask the right questions to understand what they need.

I have to be probing but respectful. There are certain things I must know, but other things that they don’t have to share if they’re not ready. I want to make them comfortable, but I don’t want to be afraid to lovingly challenge them if necessary.

During the prospecting stage, it’s not JUST what you say but also HOW you say it.


A good relationship with a client should start to feel natural and easy.

These men and women have put their trust into us as advisors to take care of a very intimate and precious part of their lives. We aren’t perfect. We can’t guarantee return rates, control the markets, or predict the future.

However, we can be steady during a storm. We can be the sounding board when big financial decisions need to be made. We’re accountability partners, trusted confidants, and a large part of our clients’ lives.

None of this happens though, unless we constantly remember the “how” when we talk to our clients. We can never stop learning, listening, or communication with them. We must remember that relationships are ongoing and changing, so our “how” must always reflect our desire to know them more with each conversation.


If a co-worker asks you to help them which phrase would you rather hear: “Hey scan this and email me a copy,” or “Hey Sidney do you mind scanning this and emailing me a copy?”

Did you catch it? The same favor was being requested in both phrases, right?

Version one was inconsiderate, impersonal, and slightly rude. Version two, however, was courteous, direct, and thoughtful. Working with a team means being willing to share burdens and responsibilities when needed, but it’s always more meaningful if you know your work is appreciated.

Simple changes and tone can change a team dynamic drastically. If we spend 40-hours a week with people, isn’t it worth it to make sure we’re doing our best to show our appreciation? This concept takes very minimal effort and is worth the long-term result of unity and passion for your company.


People may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel.

In the financial planning industry, this value also rings true. We hope to have long and meaningful relationships with our clients – a relationship where we’re able to shoulder burdens and be a source of financial wisdom in many different areas of a person’s life.

During this relationship, our clients may forget the specific advice we gave them 10 years ago, but they’ll always remember how we make them feel. Are we trustworthy? Understanding? Knowledgeable? Respectful?

We can communicate all of this when we remember, “it’s not just what you say, but it’s how you say it.”

If you need someone like this in your life, feel free to call our office today. We’d love to talk to you.

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