It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. Frank Luntz
Why didn’t he just get to the point? We’ve all wondered this after attending what seemed to be an interminably long meeting. Unfortunately, some people don’t know that brevity is one key characteristic of good communication.
Another hallmark of good communication is word choice. The words you choose can either give you power or take away your power. This applies both to the words that have meaning to you and the words you intend to have meaning to others.
Tony Robbins, the self-help guru, encourages us to use transformational language that changes negative words to positive words. However, steer clear of euphemisms because people can always see through them and they’ll feel you are avoiding the truth. So it’s a balance in word choice you are working toward. In any case, the leader sets the tone of the organization, and if your language is powerless or weasly, so will be the language of your team. Be a positive role model and use transformational language that is also honest and transparent. Doing so will bring you respect.
Do you use these power-stealing words and phrases?
• “I guess what I’m saying….”
• “I/we can’t….”
• ”He won’t let me….”
• ”That won’t work.”
• “I’m not ready.”
• “I’ve never done that”
Try substituting these powerful words and phrases:
• “I choose to….”
• “I will….”
• “I can….”
• “I am ready.”
• “Let’s try it.”
Asking powerful questions is another attribute of good communication. Robbins writes that high quality questions create a meaningful life. “Smart people ask smart questions.”
When leaders integrate questions into their communication, and pause for answers,they engage their employees. We are accustomed to giving directions to our team members. Instead of giving directions on a project, ask your team for their ideas on how to complete the project successfully. When you do accept their ideas and allow implementation you will see a new level of engagement.
Why is engagement important? When people are engaged at work, they are more efficient, happier, and more productive.
Frank Luntz, author of the book Words that Work offers these questions to ask yourself :
“Am I asking the right questions?”
“Am I truly listening to the answers?”
“What more can I do to ensure that others understand me?”
An extraordinary leader understands the power of words and is intentional in using powerful, transparent, positive words and questions in his communication. Powerful communication will help your business flourish. Do you want to improve the communication in your company?