Changing Your Word Choice Can Transform Your Message Getting You Exactly What You Desire…
Instead of what you want.
Ever been in a situation searching for the right word that would put it right? Clarify the situation. Explain succinctly. Storytelling is all the rage and everyone from business professionals using them to sell to life coaches talking about ‘Changing your Story’. We think this means a total re-write. But actually it could all hinge on the right word to refocus your prospective and your listeners perception.
Look at your language and assess how it serves you! Could a word swap serve you better?
When Mike Gamson was promoted to SVP of Global Solutions at LinkedIn he was struggling to make the move work with his young family. He found his solution to work/life balance in the advice from his boss CEO Jeff Weiner.
Jeff asked “…why not aspire toward achieving harmony; instead of trying to achieve balance?” ‘Balance’ connoted equality. But harmony is a melodious integration of disparate parts. How do I take two things that are separate and bring them together in a way that is pleasing to both?”
Jennifer Dulski is president and COO of Change.org, picked up on this idea with her solution to include her family on a business trip blending her two lives; saying “It’s time to stop worrying about the perfect balance, and instead focus on being with people we love, and doing work that matters.” Since there will never be enough time, a mashup might just be the solution.
Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map is predicated on a word swap she discovered in making her annual New Year’s Resolution List. Instead of GOALS why not INTENTIONS? This focuses on how you want to feel rather than on what you need to ‘get done’. Her Goals with Soul are explained by word swapping Resolution with Revolution. If you drill down the word “resolution” is rooted in Latin, it means the process of reducing things into simpler forms. This whole premise launched her business of White Hot Truth and lead to a workbook ‘The Desire Map’
Professor Bernard Roth, Stanford design and engineering professor says by making simple changes to the words and phrases we use can empower us to achieve our goals. Roth has found, that by swapping simple words and phrases for others we can quickly—and permanently—produce positive behavioural changes. “Unfortunately, everyday speech is rife with disempowering language,” Roth says. “Even more harmful is how we use reasons to let ourselves maintain dysfunctional behaviours. The use of reasons to hide excuses makes positive changes unlikely.”
The use of BUT closes off the conversation space, while AND opens it up. CAN’T implies helplessness; WON’T signifies volition and choice. So instead of I can’t do it –you won’t do it. Then you notice quite sharply what you are really saying. It also acknowledges that perhaps you actually don’t want to do something or simply are refusing to do it.
Another simple change is HELP as in “Can I help you?” The point is that when we use the word “help,” we set our minds up to think we are helpless. However, when we swap “help” with ASSIST we set ourselves up to see that we are an important and capable part of the solution.
Coldwell Banker, an American real estate franchise used this to great effect to repurpose a tired buzz word innovative replacing it with the word awesome to reach out to their customers. The company asked “…If you have a moment of awesomeness at home, use the hashtag #HomeIsAwesomeness to share it with us on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.” From this they launched their campaign of the same name featuring their customers’ own stories.
Albert Einstein, has said: “If you do things in the same way you cannot expect different results.” By simply changing your word choice you change your meaning, your intention, your end result and so quite possibly your life!
Anastacia Keogh Director at StoryPreZ will be presenting 5 Key 5 Key Practices to Establish in the First 5 minutes to Develop a Lasting Partnership at Freeman-Clarke’s annual spring conference May 4th, 2017