Guaranteed Influence: It’s All in the Words You Use

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.


Use your words. Choose them carefully.

The power of the right words is undeniable.

We’ve all got to use to use them: our words. There’s no way anything would get done if we didn’t communicate at all and it’s comical to even imagine a business functioning where no one speaks or writes at all. So, of course, you use words to communicate, but have you ever stopped to think about the words you are using to communicate and how they affect the outcome of what you’re trying to say. Here are a few examples of what to say and what not to say when trying to persuade your peers or team on a particular subject. 

DO NOT use negative words like can’t, don’t, won’t when presenting a topic (and, yes, I see the irony of putting this in the do not section).

DO use positive words such as will, can or even should. Believe it or not, even subtle changes from negative to positive put the listener or reader in a more positive frame of mind and they’ll be more likely to respond to your pitch in the affirmative. 

DO NOT allow yourself to be derailed by tangents.

DO have a plan and stick to it. I’m not saying you should just read off of index cards; you can let your tone be natural, but stay on your points when you’re talking. People will take notice that you’re organized and focused. 

DO NOT have grammatical or spelling errors in your emails or presentations.

DO proofread all your work before you send it. Folks, we have spelling and grammar check built into Word and Outlook for this exact reason: so you can use it. Read over your emails and proposals before you send them to ensure that your writing sounds professional. Blatant errors degrade the impact of your presentation or communication.


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