08 Dec

Conscious Communication to Boost Your Leadership

Years ago, when I started my executive coaching practice, one of my first clients was a picture of negativity. Every time we talked he expressed his lack of esteem and fatalistic attitude. I tried to convince him to reframe his outlook and use more positive language in his leadership communication, but he wouldn’t budge. Sure enough, his doomsday outlook became a self-fulfilling prophecy and he was one of the people who was cut by the company during the next round of downsizing.

Fatalistic thoughts lead to career fatalities. But those who dwell on success and opportunity draw it into their path like a magnet. Later, for example, I had a client who was gunning for the VP position. When we started working together he, too, had a negative estimation of his value. But unlike my other client, this executive leader listened, learned, and practiced what I taught him. The change was evident to me, him, and his bosses. Within six months he was awarded the VP promotion.

We attract to us what we nurture inside of ourselves. When we verbalize our insecurities and fears, we breathe life into them. But when we learn to manage our mindset and choose empowering words when we communicate, we fuel predictably positive results.

With that in mind, here are three tips for becoming more aware of managing the power of your own language as a more conscious communicator:

1) Words Equal Power

The difference between one word and another can be the difference between success and failure as a communicator. Weak language, using inferior word choices, is a lightning bug in a jar. But use powerful words that inspire both you and your audience, and it is like a bolt of lightning. The power is electric, and can instantaneously light up the room.

Branding is about impression management. Vague, weak words that don’t hit the mark can make you sound unsure of yourself or even confused and not in control of the situation. Carefully-selected words that hit the mark and say what you mean with crystal clarity, on the other hand, enhance your executive presence and motivate others.

If you want to be an influential, persuasive, charismatic leader, use impactful and energy-filled language in your communications.

2) Words Reflect Your Subconscious Identity

One of the greatest fringe benefits of listening to the words you use is that those word choices reveal deep, often-hidden keys to mindset success. Sometimes I have my clients listen to recordings of their talks, and then I point out the words that express fear, weakness, or uncertainty.

Whatever you say, you first have to think. Whatever you think is based first on what you feel. What you feel is an emotional mix of all your past experiences, your accumulated knowledge, and your deeply ingrained belief systems.

Listen to your words and you’ll hear messages directly from your deepest internal self. Reframe negatively internalized messages with language of positivity and confidence and you’ll automatically tap into the reservoir of your unlimitedly powerful and super-influential subconscious mind.

3) Feeding the Subconscious Self

That subconscious self is many times more potent than the conscious mind, but is heavily influenced by what you consciously think. Especially when facing difficult headwinds, the tendency is to succumb to negative interpretations and the self-sabotaging internal language of failure.

But just as your conscious mind believes everything that is happening is real when you have a nightmare, the subconscious mind accepts as valid and factual everything you conjure up in your mind and imagination. That’s the mental trap of the self-fulfilling cycle of sabotage.

If you train yourself to monitor that internal dialog, however, you can reverse that process. Listen for those self-deprecating words and then reframe them into positive statements. When thinking how far you could fall, catch yourself and reframe it, for instance, to acknowledge how far you’ve come and how much you have already accomplished.

Rather than focusing on your lack of skill, think about how much opportunity there is to expand your skill set. When you feel a tinge of fear, intentionally step farther out of your cozy comfort zone and guess what? You’ll discover you’re just fine and that you have more courage than you realized to step out and move up to achieve your goals and dreams.

What negative words are in your internal vocabulary lately, and what can you do to replace them with empowering, self-affirming internal communication? Apply these techniques and you’ll see just how powerful they are in boosting your leadership mindset.


As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand. Illustra Consulting Copyright © 2015, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected] This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.


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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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800-267-3245, [email protected]

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