THE BLOG
05/21/2013 05:08 pm ET | Updated Jul 21, 2013

'We're Moving in Another Direction'

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If you work for an organization that issues RFPs to consulting companies, I have one humble request for you:

Please cease and desist from using the phrase "we're moving in another direction" when it comes time to letting consultants know you've decided NOT to engage their services.

It may seem like a small thing, but it's not.

"We're moving in another direction" is a totally bogus phrase. It's meaningless -- a euphemism with no soul that delivers no useful information or feedback to the person to whom you are supposedly communicating.

If you've asked a consultant to take the time to engage with you, learn about your company, and submit a proposal, the least you can do is find a more honorable way of delivering your feedback.

You know the phrase "political unrest?" Of course you do. It's all over the news, but just like "We're moving in another direction," it's vaporware -- a watered down representation of the truth.

So... instead of informing consultants that you are "moving in another direction," consider offering them more useful feedback. Everybody wins. You get to speak the truth and they get the kind of honest feedback they need to help grow their business.

Alternative phrases to "We're moving in another direction"?

1. "Your fees were too rich for our blood -- about 50 percent more than we are willing to pay."

2. "It was obvious, from your proposal, that you didn't fully understand our needs and our culture, so we selected another service provider. Thanks, anyway."

3. "We've decided to do it (the conference/meeting/workshop) ourselves, since we are under very tight budgetary constraints."

4. "We chose someone who lives in our city. Makes sense for us, since we don't have to pay for travel and accommodations."

5. "We've decided to go with a long term consultant of ours who already knows our business and our culture."

6. "Our CEO is only comfortable with professors from Ivy League universities. And besides, he's never heard of you before."

7. "You missed the deadline by 48 hours. We needed the proposal by Friday, but we didn't receive it until the following Monday."

Of course, I realize you "don't want to hurt anyone's feelings" by delivering "bad news" -- but bad news, delivered in an honorable way, is much more preferable than gobbleygook, euphemisms, and other assorted forms of jive corporate speak. Yes?

Mitch Ditkoff is the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, an innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. Yes, THAT Woodstock. His forthcoming book, WISDOM AT WORK, is all about authenticity in the workplace. One of the stories in the book spills the beans on all the euphemisms he once used to keep his clients from knowing that he was, in fact, a resident of Woodstock. Weird, but true. (He's over that now).