If you’ve ever done any work on personal development, you know the statistic that only a very tiny amount of how you communicate is verbal. In fact only 9% of communication is in the words we actually use. In saying that however, for anyone that’s trying to convince people of something, whether that’s as a leader, manager or seller of products or ideas the language you use is phenomenally important too. We live in a world of hyperbole and superlatives – it’s driven by social media – everything is amazing, super, awesome, epic and almost always followed by hundreds of exclamation marks. Often we can’t use this kind of language in business but that doesn’t mean we need to go to the opposite end of the spectrum. In an attempt to sound nice, non pushy, compliant, open to ideas and challenge I find that what many people are prone to do in a business environment is use very soft language. This is unfortunately often true of women, but it can also be true of anyone that’s ever had the feedback that they’re too pushy, or anyone that suspects that they might not quite have the audience on side – both sets of people tend to use it for the same reasons. They never want to appear too sure – they avoid opening themselves up to too much risk.
The words I'm talking about are these:
The trouble with words like this is that when you use them, you seem unsure. I challenge you to look through the history books and find a leader who didn’t seem quite sure of what they stood for. And would you really buy anything from a sales person who didn’t really seem to believe in their product. Next time you watch a speech by a politican, or a presentation by someone who really inspires people, watch out for the language they use. They will use words like will, must and can to demonstrate their certainty and foster yours.
Take a leaf out of their books and be aware of when you're using these half baked words. It might take a bit of practice to feel comfortable sounding so certain but you will quickly see results.