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Words for Winning, Part I

Updated on March 16, 2012

Use Words That Win!

Choose Your Words Carefully to Win


Winning in business is more about building great relationships than about selling. This is usually surprising to people just starting out in business. Many business leaders shoot for the sell; go for the jugular at all costs. While this approach may work in the short term, it often proves detrimental to the business in the long run. Leaders believing in this approach usually don’t worry too much about how they say things. They are looking at the end result without much concern for their immediate approach. On the flip side, those leaders that practice using words as an artist uses a brush, or as a surgeon uses a scalpel, are miles ahead of their competition.

People do listen to how you say things. If a person happens to confuse their “don’t” with their “doesn’t,” there are people who will read that as conversing with a lazy speaker, or an uneducated business person. While it may be unfair to draw such quick assumptions, it does happen, and happens quite often. A prospect may be turned off by a salesperson or business leader that is confused by the meaning of words and their proper usage. We all do it. We all make quick assumptions based on first impressions. Not everyone is hanging onto the meaning of every word, but why take the chance?

It is hard to blame business leaders as a group for the misuse of the English language. Television personalities, movie stars, politicians, and the media have all resorted to a speaking laziness. Like other changes in society, it only takes a slight movement by a vocal group (e.g. media, organizations, causes) before everyone begins participating or at least accepting new ideas. For example, have you noticed more and more “special guests,” or “experts” interviewed in the news begin a sentence with the word “so?” It goes like this: Interviewer: “What do you believe the stock market will do this year?” Expert: “So, this year will be a banner year for buying turtle eggs.” Listen carefully the next time you are listening to a news program.

Mean What You Say

Or, how about, “At the end of the day.” What an overused phrase. It happens over and over and over again. People use it where it won’t even fit sometimes. “So, at the end of the day, turtle eggs is the way to go.” Is this person saying that I should buy turtle eggs at the end of the day? Is that today? The end of tomorrow? The end of 2012?

One of my all-time favorites is the use of the word… ready?.... “HONESTLY.” When I am speaking with a client, vendor, employee, waitress, or anyone else I come in contact with, and they begin with the word “honestly,” I have to wonder if they have not been totally honest with me in previous conversations. I always hoped that people were honest with me, but then when we reach the H-word in a point of conversation, I have to question their integrity. I know you’ve heard it. It is also used in the media. “So, honestly, turtle eggs is your best bet…at the end of the day.”

Then there is the much-used, “I mean.” This one is also used frequently in interviewing situations. A question is asked and the so-called expert begins with “I mean.” What does he mean? Where did that come from? Did we miss a part of the conversation somewhere?

There are, of course, words that should be used as well as words we should not use. For example, positive words you can use with a client include “agreement” instead of “contract”, “investment” instead of “price,” and “acknowledgement” instead of “signature.” These are just a few of many words for winning that can be used. More will be covered in another hub.

In the meantime, watch what you say and how you say it. Please don’t respond with something like, “So, I mean, honestly, at the end of the day, you should buy turtle eggs.”

Totally unacceptable as well as a turn-off. Besides, it is illegal to sell turtle eggs!

What is your greatest challenge when communicating one on one?

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