Posts Tagged ‘power words’

I’ve given up on making “resolutions”. Why? Because a resolution is just a sentence saying what you will do with no endpoint or breaking down of how you’ll get there. It becomes simply an ongoing test of willpower, a phrase you repeat over and over to yourself. Goals, on the other hand, have a completion point. They’re also measurable, and can be divided into short-term goals, smaller, easier to accomplish chunks. However, what you write, the words you use, can impact the final outcome of your goals.

Always the positive

First and foremost refrain from using negatives. List what you want to achieve instead of what you don’t want to see happen. Focusing in on the negative, the not of a phrase makes your mind think about what you don’t have instead what you’re seeking.

Words make or break a goal

Always use words that are strong, that make you feel you can achieve that goal. Be specific. Craft each goal succinctly, in words that are easy for you to remember. Write out your goals using descriptive words in as much detail as possible. And avoid ambiguous words, because you want to state exactly what it is you wish to accomplish, to see into fruition.

Thoughts shape outcomes

Your thoughts are your unspoken words. Don’t censor yourself at first. Start out by thinking, dreaming, and planning without any limits or boundaries. However, after you have edited and written out your goals, you also have to monitor the daily conversations you have with yourself (those unwritten words!) Once words of doubt, negativity, and weakness infiltrate your consciousness, you are setting yourself up to fail in realizing that goal. Also, don’t think about your goals using flabby, tentative words such as “I would like to” or “might be able to”. Use action words that accurately describe what can you do.

When you think about a goal, think of it using verbs in the present tense. That programs your subconscious mind to accept the goal as a completed fact, not something that might happen down the road.

Finally, it’s YOUR goal, and something you must really want; NOT what’s expected from you, or what everyone else is trying to do. You must also go beyond the words, believing that you can achieve your goal, so visualize your success, and feel yourself arriving at that goal’s destination. Without that, well, the goal is just another collection of words no better than a resolution!

Today in this post we continue examining words that make you look weak and how to replace defeatist words with power words.

Being apologetic

“Sorry” and “Just” are the two most offensive words in this category. Eliminate sorry unless you are truly making an apology. “Just” creates the inference that what you are saying is not important and you are apologizing for inconveniencing the other person to have to attend to your communication.

Flabby, tentative words

Phrases such as “would like to” “might be able to” “helped out” all make you sound weak. Use action words that accurately describe what can do or will do. Action words make you a doer. Doers get jobs done. 
 Defeatist words:

If you continually use defeatist words you will defeat yourself before you even start. These words not only send out negative messages but also program you internally for failure. The following shows some defeatist phrases and how they can be turned into more positive ones:

Defeatist   Powerful
“I have to” “I choose to”
“I might” “I will”
“Maybe” “Certainly”
“I can’t” “I can”
“I don’t know” “I’ll find out”
“I’ll think about it” “Let me give it some thought”

 Sometimes it is not just the word itself but the choice between 2 different words that can add or subtract power from what you say.

For example, in “Friendliness is a salesman’s best asset,” you replace “friendliness” with “a smile”. The new sentence reads, “A smile is a salesman’s best asset.” Friendliness conveys too many things, and is ambiguous. However, the word smile always has a positive connotation, everyone is won over by a smile, and the word can easily be visualized. 

Lastly, peppering your sentences with “Ah,” “Oh,” “Like,” “Sure,” or any other word that has no real use in a sentence (just listen to a teenager and you’ll see what I mean!) makes you sound less intelligent.

The old adage says “the pen is mightier than the sword.” In your communications, make sure your words are sharp like daggers, not dull like butter knives!

Like the clothes you wear, the words you chose paint a picture of yourself. The receiver of your communications (especially in print/online where you cannot be seen nor heard) judges you based upon the selection of those words. In telephone conversations, your choice of language must not only grab and hold attention in the first 10 seconds but also exude knowledge and trust. Too often the words or phrases we use sabotage or diminish the impact of our message. 

Out of the millions of words in the English language, the following words and phrases have the greatest chance of draining the power from your communications and making the listener think less of you.

The motivation killer word: Should

This word makes you sound weak. It’s a passive word, and when people hear it they feel you are proclaiming to the world that you agree on one course of action that would be appropriate, but you’d rather do the exact opposite. Or that you know exactly what you need to do to make things better and you haven’t started yet! Psychologically, it poisons your own motivation and ambitions whenever you think of your goals as “shoulds”. Replace it with the word “will” and see how the power starts flowing!


In any form of communication, using these two words, “believe” (as in I believe) and “hopefully” will weaken your position. For example, saying “I believe the solution is…” makes it a personal opinion. Leaving out the word “believe” and stating affirmatively “The solution is…” presents it as a fact.

The word hopefully is at its most destructive when you are trying to be persuasive or convincing. No one pays you to hopefully get something done! Instead state what you WILL achieve/do. People don’t want to feel you are full of hope, they want to feel confident that YOU are confident in your ability to carry out your actions.

Using words that ask permission

When you are conducting business, asking for permission takes away any authority you have. Starting your sentences with “May I,” “Could I,” “Can I,” along with tacking on “Please” makes you sound like a child begging its parent for candy. State simply what you require, and end with a cordial “please.” This puts you in the driver’s seat and earns you respect.

Part 2 will examine some words that make you look weak and how to replace defeatist words with power words.