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  • Writer's pictureNicole Papaioannou Lugara

7 Phrases for IDs to Stop Saying in 2022

Many of my ID friends are natural helpers. They may have found their way to ID from education or customer service or just being so darn good at what they do that they were constantly asked to design training. I came from higher ed myself.

As a result, when it comes to asserting ourselves or speaking "businesses," it's not always our primary strength. But we're lifelong learners, and we'll get there.

For 2022, I challenge you to assess the words you use when communicating your ideas and needs and see if you need to make any of changes, starting with these 7 common phrases...

Minimized Impact

More Impactful



What do you think about trying [insert learning strategy here]?

From my experience, it would be best if we tried this [insert learning strategy here] instead.

Make it easy for people to say yes while avoiding burdening them with extras decisions. You come out looking like a helpful expert instead of another person who needs to be handheld.


I use ADDIE to create great courses.

It's all about behavior change. Let's get your people doing what they need to do. I can create a learning experience that will support you in achieving [insert goal here].

No one aside from IDs cares about ADDIE. What they care about is having their problem solved-- compliance, skill development, saving money, increasing revenue, better reputation. Show you can solve their problem. Learning is just the tool.


Hi, SME. Here is the content for review. Thanks!

Hi, SME. To stay on schedule, the review of this content needs to be completed by [insert date]. Thanks!

Establish accountability and ensure your projects stay on track by giving deadlines. Your SME is more likely to put time on their calendar if they have a deadline in mind.


Sure, we can add that too.


No, we already have to much. We can't add that.

How does this support the performance goal we set out to achieve? How does this help the learner to do [insert action]?

A course can quickly become everything and the kitchen sink (and so can your SOW). Instead of just saying yes or no, help to the SME understand how to consider the information.


Sure, SME, you're going to write the entire curriculum / curriculum outline, and then I'll just develop the course. Got it.

I appreciate your willingness to help, SME. In my experience, the curriculum development process works best when the SME and ID collaborate. I have some great strategies for helping people understand things more quickly and retain the information for longer so they can apply it later. Why don't we set up a working session so that we can hammer this out effectively and efficiently?

It can be hard to tell an SME, "well, no, designing this thing isn't your job," but ultimately, we owe it to our learners to do that. Remember, you've been hired for your expertise in learning. It would be a disservice not to offer it.


People who are selling courses / digital products are all just trying to take your money.

This particular product isn't for me.


In my own professional development, I'm focused on [insert goals and achievements].


In my experience with [insert program], this [insert awful thing] happened.

I'm calling us IDs out. The conversations around digital products the last few months have been heated and kind of ugly. Yes, it's true-- I'm biased because I sell digital products-- but there are so many reasons why blanket statements like this about digital products are not good, even for the person saying it.

First, if you're working in the corporate arena what most business-minded people hear when you slam digital products and other attempts at entrepreneurship is "this person doesn't understand business." Second, people who went through a program that they found valuable feel shamed and excluded. Third, potential clients who might want to create online courses-- and hire you to do that for them-- won't because they think you think they're all crap.

If you went through a program and have an issue with it, specify the program, the experience, and the issue. It's ok to call out poor business practice. Avoid making blanket statements.


Sure, I'll take on this project for [way below what I deserve].

My rate is [insert rate] for this kind of work.


I am willing to negotiate a bit on budget. What if we do [insert higher rate] for [reduced scope of work]? That way, you'll still get my expertise and guidance to set you on the right path, but you'll be able to complete the project within your budget.


Unfortunately, I don't think we're going to be able to make this budget work.

When you take on work for less than you're worth, you earn less and prevent good-paying clients from using your services. Don't be afraid to push back or offer alternatives if there's good potential there. Don't be afraid to lose business. There is always more opportunity waiting. You won't find it if your time is being occupied.

What would you add to the list?

Shifting my speech, even in small ways, has had a major impact on the success of my freelance business and people management abilities. When I'm positive, assertive, and business-minded, people are more likely to respond in the ways that I hope for.

I aim to continue refining my business communication skills in 2022.

What turns of phrase are you trying to break from your vocabulary this year?


Want to learn how to get buy in for your projects and improve your consulting skills? Check out From Data to Design. Enrollment opens January 14, 2022 and kicks off January 24.

1,107 views1 comment

1 Comment

Tracy Allen Brown
Tracy Allen Brown
Jan 25, 2022

Wow, these are such quality ways to communicate! Thank you!

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