Power of Words– Most Dangerous Words in Business– Toxic Phrases That Have No Place in the Workplace…

Words are powerful– they have a profound impact on business, on people who run business, on customers who buy from business, on stakeholders who support business; words are the ultimate  power in business… they create massively successful global corporations, and they are used with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, to heal and breathe life into a small struggling business…

It’s the awareness of the power that lies within words that makes them vital… To be sure, some words are more powerful than others and on their own they don’t really do much, but it’s how they are arranged and used that creates the impact…

According to Yvonne Grinam-Nicholson; we all grew up hearing and believing the awful lie that– sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you— but age and experience have shown us that words do indeed hurt… but they also, often times, contain the cure for what ails us… According to Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman; in their study they point to the damage of negative words… The words that send alarm signals through the brain that interfere with the decision-making process, and thus increases a person’s propensity to act irrationally… The words you say and write can change the mood of people with whom you are communicating– it can make them either; more or less productive… more or less attentive… more or less engaged…

You have the power of words, and how you choose them is enough to paint a picture of who you really are… but once used you cannot take them back… except possibly, the next best thing is just apologize for what you have said… The power of words  convey people’s– wishes, thoughts, desires, aspirations… words have the power to create and destroy… Your words whether you realize it or not, have a profound impact on people and their– emotions, aspirations, growth… Words are power; so be very careful about what you say, and how you say it… measure and weigh your words carefully… before you blurt them out…

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The power of words define the business– there are many ways you could describe what you do, who you are, why customers should choose you… But in a world where competition is fierce,  customers attention spans is short, thus you must know the key words that get people either; excited or turned-off– about you and your company… For most businesses, power words are part of a mission statement– it’s the reason for their being in business…

But there are also words that are very dangerous to well-being of a business– its employees, customers, stakeholders… for example; According to Warren Buffett; the five most dangerous words in business are: everybody else is doing it… It’s incredible how often businesses and their leaders get caught in this trap, especially the ones that are lagging behind their industry peers and they desperately try to duplicate competition to survive… Also, how often do you find conforming to a certain way of doing things just because it’s road most traveled? According to Emily Dickinson; I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word…

In the article 6+ Most Dangerous Words in Business by Torben Rick writes: How often do you hear the words: You just don’t understand how we do things around here. Or even worse: We tried it that way once and the person who suggested it is no longer here... If all this sounds overly familiar, it’s time to seriously examine the way in which your organization operates in today’s rapidly changing environment– no business has luxury of remaining at status-quo… Organizations must reinvent, innovate to survive…

There is no full proof sustainable formula for continuous success or even to survive in the marketplace. To move past a ‘event focused’ culture to a culture of ‘continuous innovation’, each individual must be aligned to the company’s vision and goals, and be equipped to act upon ideas to reach those goals… A culture of continuous innovation rests on exchange and execution of ideas (through words), which must be built into the core DNA of the company…

Creating a great company culture means being open to new ideas, new changes… few fear factors. The most important thing about culture is; it’s the only sustainable point of difference between organizations… Hence, anyone can duplicate strategy but no one can duplicate culture– and it begins with a use of specific very descriptive words… don’t leave it untended!

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In the article Most Frustrating, Confusing, Dangerous, Single Word in Business by Dan Erwin writes: It’s amazing how a single, ‘coordinating conjunction’ can impact human behavior and thinking… To a surprising degree, the majority of people don’t realize the power of this single word… I’m referring to that single damnable three-letter word; ‘but‘. I’m making too much out of a simple conjunction? Well maybe, here’s an exercise: Finish each sentence after the conjunction ‘but’ with your own experiences or ideas, and then analyze your emotions, e.g.:

You did a good job; but… or, I’d like to go out with you; but... or, It’s a possible strategy;but’… The conjunction is frustrating because it often catches you off guard, confusing because you have to handle multiple ideas simultaneously, dangerous because it’s a persuasive strategy designed to lead you astray… The conjunction ‘but’ belongs to the same category of language as the well understood phrase; by the way… They both signal something that must be watch carefully…

In the article Two Most Dangerous Words in Business by Vanessa Lanham-Day writes: The two most dangerous words for a business, which are real killers words are; I know… If for every time I have heard someone react to a piece of business information with the response; I know– I’d be rich. But the rub is although they may actually know, the point is they don’t; do

For example; Yes; I know– I must spend more time focused on business development… or, Yes; I know– growing a business needs many marketing pillars to keep it upright and stable… or, I know– reading business books, watching business videos can be very enlightening… or, I know– the company database is not very well-organized… or, I know– all that stuff about strategy, so I don’t need to learn anything from listening to business expert…

or, Oh; I know– social media is the big but I’m not interested… I know, I know… are often used but nothing ever gets done… whereas, most successful people are always looking to know about stuff… Don’t be a victim to your ego… Even if you think you know, there are always more ways to learn, grow, and to know

In the article Most Dangerous Words in Business by Michael Zipursky writes: Consider words like; sometime, someday, soon, thinking about it, planning to, this week, this month Although, you might not see anything wrong with these words, at first glance, but they are indeed dangerous. These words have ruined many businesses and destroyed many a career…  It’s not the words themselves; it’s how they are often used. More specifically, it’s what fails to accompany them… These are words of indecision. Words of a ‘talker’… and not a ‘doer’.

Let’s look at a few examples: Someday I’m going to join a gymthat’s great, but you are just ‘thinking’ about joining a gym– just the same way that you’re ‘thinking’ about a trip… it may happen or it may not…  Or, you might think that because you are planning something you are being productive, however, the problem with ‘planning’ is that people say that for everything– it’s meaningless unless you’re talking about it as a specific action you are doing at a specific time…

And, what about the word; soon– it does not show any sense of urgency… Then there is; I’m going to work on that– this month… this month is specific but it’s still too vague– be specific and identify the day and time of the month… If you are using these type of words; stop, and change behavior, change  from being indecisive and vague to decisive and specific… Then there is a much higher probability that you will actually do it, and get stuff done! The words we use– determines our actions and behavior…

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In the article Most Deadly Words in Business Writing by Gary Blake writes: Rarely do I see business communication that are completely avoids from what I call the ‘deadliest‘ words and phrases commonly found in business… Do a few stodgy phrases ruin a communication? Is it a big deal?  Well, when you consider how much communication is exchanged in business you realize how important it is, to be– clear, concise, relevant, engaging…

There are specific phrases that when changed can make a company’s communications significantly better… In fact, it will improve company’s image, productivity… and cut thousands of unnecessary, wasted words… consider the following:

  • Yours very truly (or, Sincerely yours, Very truly yours: Closings are antiquated. I find myself using– ‘Sincerely‘– almost all the time…
  • Respectfully: This closing has a solemn, almost hat-in-hand aspect that I dislike… ‘Sincerely’ works fine here too…
  • Kindly: ‘Please‘ works better than this old-fashioned word…
  • I Forwarded… I am forwarding: In an e-mail, ‘forwarding’ does have a specific meaning: sending materials from someone other than the writer to the reader…
  • Please do not hesitate to contact me: The prevalent ‘please do not hesitate’ was a light, bright phrase when it was coined almost a half-century ago, but now, like most clichés, it pays a price for its popularity. When you use a cliché, you subtly send a message to the reader that you think in clichés…  Use: ‘please call me‘, polite without the cliché connection…
  • Enclosed please find: This phrase, more than any other in business, epitomizes the lawyer-like way people… There’s nothing to; ‘find’… Use; ‘enclosed is...’ or, ‘I’ve enclosed‘…
  • ASAP (as soon as possible):The blandest, vaguest term in business.  It implies quickly but just how quickly is matter of interpretation. If you need a document request a specific date– name a date…
  • Dear Sir or Madam: If you are unable to find the correctly name and title of the person to whom you are writing, then you must settle for some generic rendering of the title: Dear Sales Manager… or, Dear Managing Attorney
  • To Whom It May Concern: Would you be eager to open a piece addressed this way?

The words you use really matter… According to admin; the two scariest words in business are; Trust me… People use these words far too freely, and when they cannot deliver they run the other way! I honestly hate when I am told; Trust me… It usually means that you are about to get screwed… However, there are other ‘danger’ words, e.g.,: According to Brad Hoover; when you contact a company to resolve an issue and hear the phrase; I’ll try… that’s probably not going to alleviate much frustration; as a matter of fact, it’s more likely to exacerbate the matter…

Likewise, when employees say they will; try to meet a deadline… or, try to close a deal... or, try to handle a customer issue… But unfortunately in business, the old college ‘try’ is not good enough– it must be more specific; either– do or don’t… While ‘try’ is one of the more dangerous word… there are other ‘danger’ words, as well that indicate– negativity, uncertainty… words such as; if, never, maybe, used to, can’t… Ultimately words are power to communicate effectively…

Words are first impression and they span the full range– from verbal discourse to emails to meetings to reports to engaging customers… they have a power to determine– reputation, competency, commitment… When you use words with power and impact… and also deliver on expectations, you are shaping image, bolstering potential, and giving business a shine… So; don’t try–do… don’t doubt–believe… don’t wonder–act…