Get the words right

Getting the words right is not just important for public speakers. Every day we have the opportunity to influence others in our conversations at work and at home, at meetings and perhaps during presentations. The words you choose and use are the basic building blocks you need to be convincing and to achieve your goals, no matter what those goals might be. Here are our top ten, simple to apply tips that will enable you to make the most of your words and how you use them: State your thoughts in clear and simple language: smart speakers keep the words simple and easy to understand rather than trying to be too clever. Speak in short sentences: long sentences (more than about 20 words) confuse listeners rather than clarifying your point. Be specific: concrete words and examples are more effective than vague descriptions. Be “active” rather than “passive”: the active voice of the verb makes sentences more forceful and powerful. Be direct and positive: if you mean “I”, don’t say “we” and you can be “sure” rather than “hopeful”. Use exciting, power words: grab attention by using power words such as interesting, unusual, important… Ask rhetorical questions: the listener is not expected to answer but their attention is focused on the subject of the question. Build groups of three: for some reason, three is a magical number when it comes to impressing with words e.g. “Our goal is clear, our strategy is effective and our execution is disciplined.” Explain jargon /abbreviations: not a problem if your listeners are familiar with the technical terms and acronyms – otherwise, always explain the...

Manage your inner dialogue

Inner dialogue is how you formulate your thoughts in your own mind. Does the way in which you conduct this conversation with yourself impact the actions you eventually choose to take? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”. If you typically conduct a more negative or “reactive” conversation with yourself (“I have no control over anything.”) then the result can make you feel as though the obstacles you face are insurmountable. Instead of being a “glass half full person”, you run the risk of having a glass which is permanently half empty. You can be sure this will prevent you from being resourceful when times are tough and you need to find quick and clever ways to overcome difficulties Your choice of specific words is often down to habit or behavioural patterns that may need overhauling if you want to stay resourceful and maintain forward momentum. Tough times demand new strategies and new strategies sometimes mean changing the way you think about things and represent them to yourself. Kick Start creativity: choose pro-active words Proactive language (“I choose to influence the things which I CAN change.”) keeps your energy more positive and creative. Swap “There’s nothing I can do.”  for “Lets look at our alternatives.” Replace “They won’t allow that.”  with “I can create an effective plan.” Banish “I can’t.”  implement “I choose.” Of course, there is no such thing as a 100% guarantee for anything but using pro-active language may just open up new choices and solutions for you when you need them the most! How to be more effective with proactive communication forms part of our Focus Area “Personal Mastery”...