Words mean things. Go figure, right?
Oddly enough, the value our words hold seem to fall short on so many professionals, especially leaders and business owners.
Saying the right thing at the right time can be equally as beneficial as knowing words to avoid and choosing your words carefully.
If you want to become a better communicator or simply sharpen up your vocabulary, check out nine words great communicators never use.
“Maybe” is a cop out. The easy way out of answering a difficult question. It indicates uncertainty or lack of commitment.
“Maybe” can be an especially dangerous word when directed at an employee, as it doesn’t offer any clear specifics or objectives.
With this word, you run the risk of being misunderstood or having your opinion disregarded due to indecision.
Great communicators know good things come to those who wait (within reason, of course.) When you hit someone with the demand to receive results “now” you not only run the risk of coming up with less than desirable results, but you also instill the feeling in others that they need to rush.
Great communicators are willing to wait and give people the time they need.
“Demand” naturally holds some negative connotations. Great communication and leadership is effectively a form of modeling ideal behavior.
“Demand” implies an inequality in respect between two parties and can quickly shy people away from doing business with you.
If you’re a leader prone to making demands, it may be necessary to reevaluate your leadership style.
“Perhaps” carries many of the same pitfalls as “maybe.” When you use “perhaps” you lose directive of your wording — the message becomes hypothetical, rather than concrete.
“Perhaps” leaves a lot to the imagination and will inevitably yield uncertain expectations, and consequently “iffy” outcomes.
Have you ever had an employer tell you something was a “bad” idea? You might’ve thought, “Okay, fair enough, but can you be more specific?”
The word “bad” neither explains why an idea is insufficient or the possibilities for formulating a better idea.
It is non-descriptive in every way, aside from the fact it holds a negative connotation. What’s more, it’s quite a patronizing word and won’t score you points in gaining respect from your peers.
You’ve probably asked for something to be done “fast” when you’re in a real pickle. In essence, you’re asking for results, but don’t care about their quality.
It’s also probably true that you missed the mark somewhere and are scrambling to make up for lost time. Good communicators are also time management aficionados.
Great communicators don’t just write off or “reject” unfavorable ideas; they take a broader perspective by seeing how an idea can be reworked and improved.
Before you stamp a big, fat “rejected” notice on an idea, think first otherwise you may be stifling the confidence others have to come to you with their ideas next time around.
Does the answer always have to be “no?” If you’re prone to saying “no, no, no,” try being a “yes” man more often. If you can’t say yes, endeavor to find a compromise.
How about finding a happy medium or adjusting an idea to suit both parties? Obsessively turning people down will eventually lead to the end of people asking you for your advice, opinion or support.
“Cancel” implies something went wrong. Search for an alternative word, such as “postpone,” “reschedule” or “redirected.”
“Cancel” holds an immense weight of finality, even if you don’t intend it to. If you have to cancel a meeting, immediately set a date to reschedule.
If you have to cancel a project, explain why it was “redirected” or “reassessed” to achieve a greater good.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to say exactly the right thing, every time. It’s inevitable you’ll slip up, but being more conscious of your word choice will eventually lead to it becoming second nature.
Seven Figure Firms is committed to driving success. Download a FREE CHAPTER of our book to leave the Five Keys to driving success.