Last night I was listening to John Tesh’s radio show. This isn’t a common occurrence, but I was driving, and it was on, and he began a segment I couldn’t stop listening to.
The segment was about how “little” changes in our everyday vocabulary can make a BIG difference in our influence on people. In fact, according to Tesh, changing just one word can make the difference between whether someone agrees with you or not.
- If you want your spouse to stop smoking, instead of saying…”Would you please stop smoking for my sake?” you could change it to “Would you please stop smoking for the children’s sake?” and your spouse is more likely to consider the request because you have taken yourself out of the equation.
- When you know that you need to offer some constructive criticism, instead of saying, “You did a nice job, but the report needs editing,” you could change it to “You did a nice job and the report needs editing.” That one simple switchout keeps the message positive and makes it more likely to be well received.
- When you want someone to see your side of things, avoid words that are judgmental, and inflammatory (like crazy, stupid, ridiculous), and instead replace them with words that are specific and can be quantified (like disruptive, thoughtless, impulsive). By taking the most incendiary words and replacing them with more specific adjectives, you take the emotion out of the issue so that the other person can look at themselves more objectively
These are great examples of the power of the English language. By making simple word substitutions, we can have a direct impact on the relationships in our lives. What vocabulary do you most try to avoid in conversation?
Weigh in within the comments!