07 Nov

Power Words Boost Your Influence

As a leader you are probably accustomed to taking charge. You are comfortable being assertive. You are trained and practiced at giving orders. In fact, it’s probably a natural part of your personality.

Unfortunately that also means that you may have developed a bad unconscious habit. Many of today’s leaders are so used to speaking that they can do it instinctively. But speak before you think and your leadership career won’t get very far.

Your communication needs to reflect your leadership personality. Choose weak words or phrases and you appear unsure of yourself or less than confident. So I always encourage leaders to practice power language.

Avoid passive sounding words and replace them with those that have more snap. One clue to help you spot weaker words is to look for those that end with “ing” because oftentimes they are passive verbs. Go for active verbs!

Here’s an example:

Weak: “I am making some decisions that will be contributing to the bottom line.”

Strong: “I made and will continue to make decisions that contribute to the bottom line.”

Likewise, beware of tentative or hesitant words like “try” and “maybe.” Instead choose convincing, deliberate, intentional words.

Weak: “I will try to improve.

Strong: “I will definitely improve.”

Weak: “Maybe I should work on that.”

Strong: “I will absolutely work on that.”

Develop your own dictionary of words and phrases that convey the qualities you want to represent. Pick the right words for each occasion, in the same way that you know how to dress for every occasion.

For example:

On a blind date: “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

To a business colleague: “Great to meet you.”

When addressing an industry icon: “I’m honored to meet you.”

Start sentences with strong, specific, high-impact words or action verbs. Make each word count by eliminating fluff. Avoid vague, generic-sounding words. Try to replace them with ones that have more punch.

For example:

Weak: “This is a nice way for our group to show how we really are getting to where we are working together.”

Strong: “Opportunities like this to strut our stuff are rare for our hardworking team.”

Weak: “If you use power words you will start to sound like you are more powerful and that can change how people feel about you a lot.”

Strong: “Employ power words to genuinely convey your leadership power.”

Incorporate, practice, and refine your vital language and communication tools to give you an even stronger presence. Speak in such a way that your ideas resonate. You’ll be heard and valued!

Tell me what you think! Post a comment below.

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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion System™.

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Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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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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