The Right Language

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Revolution begins with language, not just in political movements and at the organization-wide level with a company dream, but right down to the interpersonal level – at the desk, in the corridor, at the water cooler. Career-enhancing and life-changing moments often occur in everyday conversations where an impression is made, an opinion is formed or an idea is sparked.

At work, employees should demand the four success drivers every day in equal doses – responsibility, learning, recognition and joy. People rise up on these, and the organization rises with them. However the fab four have to be given, not just demanded, especially on the high-emotion fronts of recognition and joy. This is where language come to the fore.

So to a stellar piece of language advice in this article in INC by Jack Murphy Jr which shows how the smallest choice of words can make a huge difference. Five simple phases in this article are good examples of an EQ at work to make careers and shift worlds:

  1. “You’re welcome” (versus “No problem”). 
  2. “Here’s what’s happening” (versus “I don’t have the full story”). 
  3. “How can I help?” (versus “Sorry, I can’t help”). 
  4. “I’ll find out” (versus “That’s not my job”). 
  5. “I believe in you” (versus “It’s on your head”).  

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said: “I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.” It’s not just the doing, it’s the saying, as the article says.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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