Fabulous words for fabulous leaders
Posted on 19th April 2021 at 12:00
Aldeous Huxley, the author of Brave New World wrote:
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
And I believe the same is true when we hear them. We can use words which lift people up or put people down, which encourage or frighten, which praise or blame, which influence or not.
I believe we are all leaders in some way. Even if we are a solopreneur we lead our business, and if we are parents we lead our children.
As leaders we have the power to choose our words wisely. Whether we are having a conversation with our team, writing our website, or talking to a client the power of the words we use is immense!
Here are a few words to avoid
Try because it implies something isn’t going to happen. So, it’s more powerful to say to your client or team member I’ll call you at 10am tomorrow, rather than I’ll try and call you at 10am tomorrow. When they hear you’ll call them at 10am tomorrow they’ll hear your commitment to them and feel valued.
Jargon or what I call “business speak” as this will be your language, not that of your customers. Sometimes this can be a tricky one, as it can be so familiar to us it can feel like a normal word so it’s useful to get someone else to check this.
Negatives. Instead of saying to someone “Don’t get too stressed” you could say “What can you do to relax right now? The reason is the unconscious mind won’t hear the don’t and focuses on the word stressed, which is the opposite of what you want. If I said to you now, whatever you think about don’t think about a big plate of mushrooms, sausages, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes with toast and butter. What are you thinking about? I think you get it!
Just. For example, if you say I just want to follow up on my previous email, it diminishes the importance of what you say after that. I’m following up on my email is much stronger. You have every right to follow up on your previous email, there is no just about it!
Here are a few words to use
Use words which influence. For example, if you are talking to a customer you could say I believe that would be best option for you (as opposed to I think) as it has more gravitas.
Use words which indicate choice. Replace I need to and I have to with I want to or I will. For example, instead of saying “I have to do some work before I can watch this film with you”. You could say “I’ll work for half an hour then I’ll be right with you to watch the film”. A subtle difference, yes, however you’re more likely to lead yourself into doing your work with a big fat smile on your face!
Use Authentic words – I believe the odd swear word can sometimes add something like nothing else can. Entirely up to you of course! Sometimes when I’m training I get so excited I say something like “that’s bloody brilliant Sophie!”
Add some colourful words. So rather than “my client was quite happy with the overall result”, you could say “my client was amazed with the results she got from working with me”.
The word “imagine” can be very powerful. For example, you could say to your team, “imagine how it would be if we doubled our business within the next eighteen months? This word “imagine” allows us to consider options and possibilities which we may never have thought of otherwise.
Use assumptions in a good way! For example, if I’m coaching a client, I could say I wonder how great your presentation is going to be? The assumption in that statement is it’s going to be great, it’s simply a question of how great.
And here’s the bonus one! Use less words overall. When you have finished a draft of a presentation, I suggest be ruthless in your editing. However wonderful your ideas are if they don’t support the key message of your presentation get rid of them. You could aim to cut your presentation by 10 – 20% by getting rid of any unnecessary sentences and then any unnecessary words.
Go on I dare you to use more fabulous words to get even more fabulous results!
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