Words Matter!

Change your words – change your world.
-Andrea Gardner

Think about this situation. Someone asks you to do something. You say, “No problem.”

At first blush saying “No problem” might not seem like a big deal. I hear many people respond this way. It got me thinking. What ID-100264697is the first word you hear?  “No” A negative. You are leading with a negative. And whilenot huge, might there be a better alternative – one with more power?

What if you say, “My pleasure.” – or – “I’ll take care of it for you.” – or – “Consider it done.”

A small change to be sure. Does it matter?

Well, my personal answer is yes. I tried an experiment that I invite you to try. I stopped saying “No problem” and chose one of the phrases above which best fit the situation. I was surprised at the reactions I received. Pleasantly surprised. People made eye contact and smiled at me. Their next words were the best. They said “Thank you.” Not the rote “thanks” but a “thank you” that conveyed the feeling behind the words. 

What I learned is that a small change like this in how we respond is significant. Believe it or not, it shifts the tenor of the interaction. There is no doubt in my mind that what we say and how we say it matters. Our words set the environment for the actions that follow.

Words are magic. They paint pictures and tell stories. They express feelings. They inspire. Our ability to use words in ways that empower us is one change that is totally in our hands. Here is a 3 step process we can take to begin to shift our language skills.

  1. Notice the words you currently use. Don’t judge – just notice. Do you say “You know” often? Are your words curt? What tone and temperament is showing up in the language you use?
  2. Choose one change to make. For example, take a breath instead of saying “You know.” These words are space fillers. Try the change above and replace “No problem” with “My pleasure” or “Consider it done.”
  3. Notice reactions. Are your conversations smoother? Are relationships growing stronger?

Changing one small item like what I am suggesting here may not seem like much. When you get comfortable with this one, you can change another small item. Small items join together fostering larger changes that produce significant results. Small changes matter.

Try it! Let me know what you experience.

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