Our Speech and the power of the words and phrases that we use is one of the most significant tools that we possess in our business arsenal. The manner in which we converse with people, and ourselves, weaves the pattern of our relationships and sets the tone for how much we can achieve and how far we can go in any given task.

micTherefore, it is prudent to never underestimate the power of words and the impact they have on your business. If you ever find yourself struggling to motivate your people, or indeed to positively motivate yourself, try eliminating the following words and phrases from your vocab, experiment with the suggestions, and watch your business flourish.


“I don’t know” or “I’m not sure.”

Whenever you find yourself in a leadership position or are in the process developing a reputation as an expert in your field one thing you need to be is certain. Being unsure about who was the last person to win the voice is excusable, and desirable, (seriously who watches that crap), but being unsure about the latest trends or the standard acceptable practices in your chosen industry is not. If you don’t know, do some research and return with an answer. Try swapping for phrases like “I will find out and get back to you”.


Similar to the prior point. A “maybe” makes you sound unconfident, uninformed and unsure of the facts you’re presenting. Regardless of the topic, do the legwork and get informed. Replace with a definite yes or no, people appreciate an answer, a maybe is often a lot more frustrating than a simple no. If you need more time to reach a decision by all means iterate that and take it, but make it clear there will be answers forthcoming. Leaders take decisive action then accept the consequences. Maybe, breeds uncertainty and uncertainty or a perceived lack of confidence is damn uninspiring, while confidence is sexy.

“What if?”

penProtecting any potential downsides by considering all possible outcomes, is a crucial skill to acquire. as it allows you to foresee and thus deal with any situations before problems arise, but exerting all your time and energy speculating on “what ifs” and the like, or things that are essentially out of your control, can be extremely dangerous as this is fear inducing thinking. As a budding entrepreneur, You want to be excited about future possibilities, not daunted by every little thing that could possibly go wrong. No-one can be certain about what will happen tomorrow, but through adequate preparation, flexibility and a positive approach you can overcome anything and achieve greatness. Starting any business involves a steep learning curve and mistakes and pitfalls are part and parcel of that process. Mistakes will be made, and shit will happen, but it is your attitude towards any momentary downfalls that defines you, not the pitfalls themselves. A mistake is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it. If you are persistent and remain true to your aims setbacks will only ever be temporary.

“You, Me” or “I.”

These words are divisive. Replace with “we” , or “our team”. Avoid phrases that single people out , whether for criticism or glory.  Use unifying words instead. Hierarchical phrases like he/she works for me can be perceived as overbearing and arrogant. Try phrases like, “we work together”, or “this was a group achievement” instead. Sharing the praise when things go well and also the responsibility for when things don’t go so smoothly instills loyalty in the heart of your team. The opposite can create a breeding ground for dissent. An increase in loyalty  can only result in increased production as a more positive company culture is fostered. Remember happy workers (read team) = happy boss.

“I have to” or “I must.”

Swap for an “I want to” or “I would like to”.
“Have to” and “must” contain negative connotations, as it implies someone or something else is dictating your actions, not you. That is not freedom. You are your own boss. As entrepreneurs, we hustle hard, part of the reason why is to have the freedom to choose what we do and when we do it. As you make the transition from being an employee to becoming a Boss you will no longer have someone telling you what to do. Your day is yours, your time is yours, and you are doing this because you want. No-one is standing over you making you do anything. This is your life , you chose to be free. And that subtle change of view makes a world of difference.


Everyone has or at least should have dreams right?
In life sure, but in business, rather than dreams everyone should focus on establishing goals and aims, as it is the latter, not the former which produce results.

Why, well the reason results from a simple shift in perspective. Dreams are abstract, intangible and as such , unattainable, whereas aims are physical ,tangible and clearly defined. These are things  we can reach out and grab. To truly achieve your dreams, try replacing that word with goals, or aims, then watch what happens. And leave dreams for the land of nod.

“I can’t.”

Yes, yes, you can.
You can achieve anything you set your mind too. Negative self-talk is highly destructive. I see too many people talking themselves out of victory and into defeat before they even begin. Think instead ,with every action you take, I can do this , or I’ve got this. Positive affirmation really works. That is evident in sport, as much as in business. Look at Ali. He was calling himself the World champion before he  had his first professional fight. He told himself and everyone he was going to win before long before every bout started. And you know what, the majority of the time he was right.

As Henry ford said “If you think you can. or think you can’t, either way, you’re right.”

“That/it is impossible.”

Successful people, live in and see a world of boundless possibility (glass half full kinda thing), poor people perceive the polar opposite, one of restriction, limitations and doubt. In other words, successful people, those infectiously positive people that everyone loves to be around are driven well, by their dreams (goals), whereas unsuccessful people are driven by the nightmare. Eliminate this type of thinking completely, nothing is impossible if it is something you truly desire.

Often, it is the slightest changes that make all the difference.

I hope this article got you thinking about how easily you can improve your current standing, simply by changing the manner in which you speak to yourself and others. Words and how we use them are powerful, they are either working for us or against us. The trick is to develop the wisdom, through attention, to know when they are becoming the latter, so you can turn them into the former.


“Words can empower, and words can destroy. Choose yours well.”



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