Monday, May 23, 2016

Five phrases

A great article at Fast Company discusses the words we use at work, and how those words impact our influence and relationships.

You've probably experienced poor word choice by others. In a meeting or in a discussion, you may have observed someone really flub a point by using wrong language. Maybe it comes off as too forceful, or too autocratic. And that changes the tone of the discussion. Poor word choice can turn a conversation's focus from "collaborate" to "dictate."

In the Fast Company article, Bernard Roth of Stanford University's discusses the 5 Words And Phrases That Can Transform Your Work Life. Quoting from the article:

"But" is probably the most limiting word in our vocabulary. The use of "but" closes off the conversation space, while ‘and’ opens it up. When you open up the dialogue with "and," your brain gets to consider how it can deal with both parts of the sentence.
Needing to complete work is one of the most common situations in which we say we "have to" do something. By saying you "have to" take it, you set up a situation as a burden. By simply swapping out "have to" with "want to," you will more readily make it seem like less of a burden, and indeed, more of something to look forward to.
When we say we "can’t" do something, that is almost always not actually the case. By exchanging "can’t" for "won’t," we realize that an inability to currently do something is a choice, not a physical impossibility. The simple change of ‘can’t’ to ‘won’t’ is often empowering. "Can’t" implies helplessness; "won’t" signifies volition and choice.
"I’m afraid to" is about the most blocking phrase there is. It acknowledges the person’s fear instead of their desire. Phrasing your want as "I’d like to" acknowledges your desire, and desire is usually associated with positive, pleasant thoughts.
The word "help" is often associated with "helplessness" in our minds. Helplessness implies someone is incapable of achieving something without someone else stepping in to do it for them. However, when we swap "help" with "assist," we set ourselves up to see that we are an important and capable part of the solution.

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