17 November 2014
Here is the definition of language:
“The system of communication used by a particular community or country”.
And here is the definition of words:
“A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed”.
Notice the word “meaningful” in the definition of word! Words carry meaning..sometimes positive and sometimes negative.
And according to Wikipedia “Loaded words and phrases have strong emotional implications and involve strongly positive or negative reactions beyond their literal meaning”. So we may say things that are seriously misconstrued without even being aware..
Here’s an example..and what made me think about this blog post.
The other night I was watching a television show where a couple was in a restaurant and a waiter took their order. I know..what does that have to do with sales? OK, I’ll explain…So after the waiter took the order, he said two common sayings in a row, “No problem” and “My pleasure”.
Look at those two sayings and think about the reaction you get from each. He may have even meant the same thing or not even thought at all since they have the same meaning..or do they?
I will tell you my reaction was really visceral. First, I have to be transparent and tell you that I really dislike the “No problem” and now “No worries” saying that has become so prevalent in the the lexicon of responses.
To me it says that it really IS a problem to that person or it really IS a worry. Just those two sayings have that kind of meaning to me. And I know I am not alone. I have even read numerous articles and books about the use of language and how it can cause negative reactions.
On the other hand, “My pleasure” says that the person really does want to help you. Those words have a much more positive connotation. We think that person actually cares about your outcome. I can actually feel my shoulders relaxing.
I think words are so important and can make or break getting more business.
The biggest problem is that no one would ever tell you. You just leave a client with a negative reaction to something you have said and you may not even know. Something you said pretty mindlessly and I am sure with absolutely no malice or harm.
So my advice is to be very thoughtful, plan and even practice your presentation and most importantly listen to what your client’s needs are. If you focus and concentrate on that, you will have much more control over what you say. When you become “mindless”, not focusing on what your client or potential client is saying, words tend to come into your mind and sometimes out with less thoughtfulness.
- Choose your words carefully which takes lots of thought.
- Don’t just try to “fill the air”. That’s when some of these word mistakes happen most often.
- Be totally present. If you’re present, you will make better choices.
- Delete some current popular phrases from your vocabulary. Just because they have become “hip” or accepted does not always mean they work in business.
If you put more thought, calm down the stress and dare I say, don’t try to think ahead, you will be able to put thought into your presentation and choose your words carefully.