Words are your keys to success or failure in business. Have you given thought to your words? Have you carefully crafted words with thought and reflection that you can use at a moment’s notice to close a deal, develop a relationship with a key prospect or begin an affiliation with an important partner? Fernando Flores defines carefully chosen words and responses as “speech acts: language rituals that build trust between colleagues and customers.” Speech acts are powerful because most of the actions that people engage in — in business, in marriage, in parenting — are carried out through conversation. But most people speak without intention; they simply say whatever comes to mind. Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose.
Your words and the manner in which you deliver them will project confidence — or not. Confidence is a major factor in determining success in business. Showing confidence will go far when talking with potential employers, employees, investors, and potential clients alike. This makes sense. If you had the choice to work with two different individuals, would you choose the one that looks at their shoes and undersells themselves, or the one that looks you in the eye and tells you they can get the job done. This goes against today’s culture, usually so focused on self-deprecation and underselling, especially for female entrepreneurs. However, the people you do business with want to know what you can provide them. In the current economic climate, they cannot afford to take risks. The more confident in you are in yourself and the benefits and solution you can provide, the more likely you will be to capture new business.
There are many ways to show confidence in a business setting. One of the most crucial is in your word choice. Weak and indefinite words, words we often say out of habit, could be costing you more than you realize. Word choice will affect the communication you have in person, over the phone, and through email.
A person will act on what they know and only know what is communicated to them. Make sure you are communicating effectively and confidently.
Rewind to English 101. Remember writing all those essays? We were taught to never write in absolutes, but instead to use terms like, “usually”, “seems to be”, “likely”. This is because there was an exception or a conflicting opinion we had to take into account. Forget everything you were taught about essay writing! Business communication should be strong and decisive. Speak as though there were no opposing opinions. You WILL provide a solution. You ARE the expert in your field. You WILL deliver by Friday. Anything less than this kind of certainty will cast doubt on you and your business.
Bad and Better Phrases
Bad Phrase: “I’m just…”
Better Phrase: “I am…”
Bad Phrase: “Are you the decision maker?”
Better phrase: “How does the decision making process work there?”
Bad Phrase: “Would it be alright if…”
Better phrase: “I am going to…”
Bad Phrase: “I should”/”I’ll try”/”I might”
Better Phrase: “I will”
Bad Phrase: “I might be able to…”
Better Phrase: “What I can commit to is…”
Bad Phrase: “You might want to consider is…”
Better Phrase: “What I recommend is…”
Other words to avoid: Might, won’t, usually, suspect, impossible, worried, confused, need, likely, quandary.
Napolean Hill states, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” Are your words planting seeds of success or failure? Speak with intention, and your actions take on new purpose. Speak with power and confidence and then act with power and confidence.
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