Do you want better results – growing your business, building your career, creating a life that you love?
You have many tools at your fingertips, but the one you probably use the most is your language. The words you think, write and say – they have the power to hinder you, and the power to help you get more of what you want.
In this, the third instalment of our mini-series of practical how-to blogs to help you sharpen up your words to achieve more success, we’re looking at the way a positive ‘lens’ on your communication can transform your message and content.
In case you missed them, here are the first two parts of our mini-series:
There are three things you can do straight away to transform your content into something more assertive and positive.
‘MAKE SURE’ YOU’RE NOT ACCIDENTALLY APOLOGISING
Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of aggressive business communication out there – the bro marketers and the hard sellers, for example. We’re never going to encourage you to do any of that…we hate it ourselves and there’s really no need for it…but we will help you be more assertive.
After all, whether you’re online or bricks-and-mortar, you and your brand need to be seen as an authority, a go-to place or person, a trusted expert. You need to speak with exactly that tone of voice.
But it’s very easy to go the other way, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the icky marketing, and instead sound faintly apologetic. So how do you stand loud and proud in the words you use?
Here’s just one really simple technique you can apply straightaway to sound authoritative. Whenever you’ve written some content – a post, blog, or a speech – go on a hunt to ‘make sure’. Find all the instances where you say things like ‘make sure’, and banish those suckers with your red pen or your delete key. The chances are those seemingly innocuous words are draining your power and limiting your results.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes to see what we mean. Imagine you’ve had an issue with a supplier and they write to apologise. In their note, they tell you ‘we will make sure we fix this’. Now imagine the same note said, instead: ‘we will fix this’. It’s the same sentence, just without the ‘make sure’. But which note sounds like they’re taking action; which fills you with more confidence?
Other word vampires that are probably draining your copy sound weak and apologetic include committed to, working hard to, trying to, planning to…they’re all filters between you and actually taking that action. Just say what it is you’re doing. Own it, and be proud of it!
MAKE YOUR AUDIENCE FEEL GOOD!
Part of really knowing your audience is understanding their problems, and of course you want to talk about those pain-points to show you get it. For more on this check out our blog below.
However, studies show that when people are exposed to negative descriptions, they feel negative. Who wants a potential customer to read your marketing materials and feel down about it? Nope, us neither! Subliminally, talking only in negative terms leaves your readers or customers in a ‘negative state’ – and it certainly saps the life out of your message.
Communication research also tells us that negative words have more impact in the brain, meaning that your followers and customers are more likely to remember the negative things you said than the positive things. They might associate you with their issue, but you really want them to associate you with the solution and the outcome they want. The trick is to balance these negatives with enough positive language to show what a difference you can help them make.
According to that same research, you don’t just need a balance of negative and positive words for people to remember the good stuff – you need at least twice as many (if not more) positive words.
So make sure you talk enough about benefits, and the great things your customers will achieve with your product or service. (See what we did there?)
MOST OF ALL – START WITH HOW YOU TALK TO YOURSELF
At the heart of our ethos as communication coaches is the principle that your most important audience is YOU.
All the energy in your business communication starts with the words you use when you’re talking to yourself. That’s your blogs, your speeches, your social media posts, your customer conversations, your website….do they all sound like you feel good about your business?
(We’re not suggesting you don’t feel good about your business, by the way. But we are checking in that your self-talk is as positive and as empowering as it could be. Your internal language will show up in your external communication.)
In one of our communication workshops, we do an exercise in which people experience a physical reaction in their body just through the use of different language techniques. You really have to see it to believe it – in fact, we’ve trained hundreds of people in this technique, and we are still blown away by it.
Quite simply, words are very powerful little things. Use them wisely, and they’ll really help you get more of what you want.
So, there are three simple tips you can use straight away. Try them, practice them, enjoy them – and please let us know how you get on! And join us next week, when we’ll close this four-part series with a practical look at how to choose the words that will make your audience respond more to you because you really are talking their language.
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Until next week!
Lucy & Emma | The Communication Coaches