The old adage that words matter is true. But these words, should be devoid of jargon, clichés, and confusing statements so, that we are conveying— what we actually what we mean, when talking to each other. The continued use of jargon when communicating with our boss and colleagues, in the workplace —and at times, with our customers can come across as insincere.
If you want to sound powerful and convey what you truly mean when talking to colleagues, Gwen Moran has some tips in this article: These 7 phrases can help you sound more powerful at work:
- “Here’s what I can do for you-“Rather than saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m not able to,’ when you’re declining a request, focus on the positive,” says communication expert Renée Evenson, author of Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service. Instead try, “Here’s what I can do for you.” That way, you’ve set a boundary with your client or colleague about what you’re not able or willing to do, but you’ve also indicated that you’re willing to find a workable solution.
- I’ll find out-When you don’t know something, it’s usually a good idea to say so instead of bluffing. However, if you’re in a leadership position or dealing with customers, the people asking are going to want more than that from you. Instead of just shrugging off the inquiry, say “I’ll find out for you,” Evenson suggests. “This gives [the person asking] an assurance that you care enough to go one step further to get the right answer,” she says.
- Can you-It’s not uncommon to preface a favor request with “I know how busy you are . . .” or “I hate to bother you . . .” But that immediately puts you at a disadvantage because you’ve assumed that you’re creating a burden. Instead, assume there is not a problem and drop this from your language, says communication expert Linda Larsen, author of True Power: Get It, Use It, Share It. Just ask for what you need and assume that the person will let you know if the request is too much and respectfully decline.
- Let’s solve this-In a world filled with vague, wishy-washy words, “address” is one that public speaking coach Joel Schwartzberg would like to see dropped. “I see a lot of speakers say, we’re going to address this issue. What does that mean? That means they can write about it, talk about it, have dialogue, right? But that doesn’t specifically mean you’re going to solve that problem or take action,” says the author of Get to the Point: Sharpen Your Ideas and Make Your Words Matter. Instead of saying, “We’re going to address this situation . . . ” try words like solve, fight against, or reduce, which communicate action.
- I’m glad you like it-For some people, dismissing praise is a knee-jerk response. If they receive a compliment, they water it down by saying, “It was nothing . . .” or “It could be better . . .” Those responses not only make light of your work and ability, but they are dismissive of the person giving the compliment. Instead, thank the individual genuinely and add, “I’m glad you like it,” Larsen says.
- I want to help-Telling someone to calm down is almost a guarantee that they will do anything but calm down. Larsen recommends validating the individual’s feelings and assuring them you understand. “I can see you are upset, and I want to help” is a better option.
- I’m happy I was able to help-There’s nothing wrong with saying “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you. But saying something like “I’m happy I was able to help you” is more powerful because it leaves a positive impression with the individual that you went the extra mile to help, Evenson says”.
Bottomline: Language is a powerful force in our everyday impromptu conversations. And because there are more chances to use them, the small words and phrases we use, every day at work, can have a positive or negative impact.