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Don't try too hard to sound "professional", come across as stilted and fake

Interesting exchange negotiating some work.

I worked with this guy some years ago, and the history of our communication was usually based on being fast and straight.

Now I recently asked for something again, he proposes something that I felt was a bit pricey, I tell him as much, and this is what he replies:

Him: I understand your concern about the pricing and the perception that it might be a quick fix.
Let me assure you that the cost is based on several factors, including the complexity of the task, the time required, and the expertise needed to resolve the issue effectively. While I empathize with your expectations, it's important to consider that providing a solution entails more than just fixing the immediate problem.
As a professional, I strive to deliver comprehensive and reliable results, ensuring the issue is not only resolved quickly but also preventing any potential recurrence.

My reaction:

Such a load of BS trying too hard to sound professional.
And I bet he copied that from some website or template. Or maybe ChatGPT advised him that.

He lost some social capital with that, as he comes across as not very straight.

Plus, those "professional" approaches often have hidden power moves that they try to cover up behind that veil of "warm but distant professionalism" that end up being babying and annoying.
For example:

  • "The perception that it might be a quick fix" = you got that all wrong
  • "while I empathize... (lemme instruct you on the reality.. )" = here's my teacher frame presented with fake empathy
  • "as a professional... " = here's my authority power move to justify my price with the self-label of "a professional"
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Ali ScarlettJackKavalierBel
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An alternative answer I'd have gone for:

I think it's a fair price as it requires know-how (and potentially some testing to).
(Up to you) <--- if he wanted to add a "take it or leave it".

Straight, high power, fast.

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Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanKavalierBel
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An added note on this:

The issue is that it's an individual, writing with corporate speak.

It if were like a secretary writing for the professional, it would be better, because you'd expect there to be some template kind of work.

But since it's the individual who's doing it, it feels like he's sending you copy-pastes (and/or that he's trying to posture as if he were something that he's not).

That's what makes it fake and stilted.

Ultimately, the main issue here is the lack of calibration.

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Ali ScarlettJohn FreemanJackKavalierBel
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Interesting one.  Agree in a small freelancer setting that sounds try hard.

In big corporates that power speak and being savvy at meetings  is often enough to get to middle management.  I haven't  seen many heads of and above that didn't  know one area of the business really well.

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Lucio BuffalmanoKavalier
Quote from Transitioned on May 21, 2023, 11:17 am

Interesting one.  Agree in a small freelancer setting that sounds try hard.

In big corporates that power speak and being savvy at meetings  is often enough to get to middle management.  I haven't  seen many heads of and above that didn't  know one area of the business really well.

Yes, exactly, in that environment, it would be calibrated and effective.

It sub-communicates:

  • Political skills
  • Intelligence
  • Professionalism
  • Conflict resolutions (instead of picking unnecessary fights)
  • Etc.

The way he used, after we had been talking "normally" for a while, was just off/weird.
It's also not effective for him as it breaks rapport and disempowers me (I'm forced to push back because if I accept that as "normal", then I teach him that any future dumb copy-paste will work to change my mind).

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KavalierBel
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