The Power of Words

People size you up based on the words you use and the way you use them. They decide if they will cooperate based on how you ask. Most importantly, your language shapes your thoughts and ultimately your actions. What are yours saying about you as a manager?

Use the Power Talking principles to:

Project Positive Expectations • Give Credit Where Due • Rebound Resiliently • Accept Responsibility • Encourage Cooperation and Reduce Conflict • Speak Decisively • Tell the Truth • Get Back to Basics • Share Your Pride

The “Dirty Dozen” Powerless Phrases: If you’re only going to purge twelve powerless phrases from your vocabulary, these are the ones to get rid of:

I’ll have to … As in, “I’ll have to check that for you,” or, “I’ll have to take a. message.” Sounds like you’re being imposed upon and don’t want to help.
Power talking version: “I’ll be glad to.”
I’ll try….. As in, “I’ll try to call tomorrow,” or, “I’ll try to help you.” Sounds like you’re tentative and unsure about what you’ll really do.
Power talking version: “I will.”
Problem …… As in, “That sounds like a problem” or, “Our teenager is a real problem.” Labeling anything as a “problem” stifles your creativity.
Power talking version: “It sounds like a challenge.”
Only ………… As in, “It’s only my opinion,” or, “I’m only the receptionist.” Why belittle yourself? You lessen your credibility by using diminishes like “just” or “only.” Power Talking version: “I believe, 11 and “I am.”
Lucky ………. As in, “I’ve been pretty lucky,” or, “You sure got lucky that time.” Why say your successes are flukes, rather than giving yourself credit for creating positive outcomes? Power Talking version: “My hard work paid oj]:”
Failed ………. As in, “I’ve failed,” or, “I’m a failure.” As Henry Ford said, “Failure is an opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
Power talking version: “I’ve learned.”
You make me……As in, “You make me furious!” or, “This••traffic is making me crazy.” You sound like a victim, under the control of other circumstances and people. Power talking version: “I Feel XXX when YYY happens.”
But ………….As in, “That’s a good idea, but” or, “I want to go, but.” The word “but” devalues the phrase before or after it, and makes the listener prepare to do battle with you. Power talking version: “And.” .
Is everything O.K.? As in, “Was your meal satisfactory?” or, “Are you happy with our marriage’” If you really want feedback, this question won’t get it.
Power talking version: “What can I do to improve?”
Disagree …….. As in, “I disagree with you.” n1is creates immediate conflict because the other guy thinks you’re saying he’s wrong.
Power Talking version: “I understand, and let’s consider another viewpoint, too.”
Should ………. As in, “I should be able to get this out in today’s mail,” or, “I should get back to you by the end of the day.” Sounds like a definite maybe!
Power talking version: “I will call before noon, tomorrow.”
Truthfully …….As in, “I’ll be honest with you,” or, “Well, truthfully,” Sounds like you’re not always honest.
Power talking version: Always tell the truth. Period! Get to the point.

“Keep my words positive. Words become my behaviors. Keep my behaviors positive. Behaviors become my habits. Keep my habits positive. Habits become my values. Keep my values positive. Values become my destiny. There is NO dress rehearsal. This is one day in our life.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Paperbacks available in bookstores:
Phone Power (ISBN 0-425-10485-0) and Power Talking (ISBN 0-425-13328-1)

To arrange personal presentations or to request information about audio/video programs, please contact:
George R. Walther: 6947 Coal Creek 11100, Renton, WA 98059 USA Phone:

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