As leaders, we are constantly in meetings and having one-to-one conversations
with team members. As a result, you have to deeply appreciate the POWER OF
YOUR WORDS. Over the years I realized that every syllable that
came out of my mouth was noticed and scrutinized.
I have found every word has a meaning that evokes images and ideas and
reminds people of their past experiences and values. The wrong word can send
a message that you never intended. GUILTY AS CHARGED ( speaking for myself).
The solution is simple, however, difficult to put into practice with the pressures
of the day-to-day and our bias toward results. I have learned the key is
PREPARATION. Prior to the meeting or one-to-one, think about the listener.
- What do they need to hear from you?
- Where are they with attitude?
Authors Ethan Becker and Jon Wortmannin in their book, “Mastering
Communication at Work” highlights the technique of Framing. They state the
secret is to know what language will convey the message you intend so that
your meaning is obvious and unforgettable. They suggest: FRAME = understand
your listener’s attitudes+intentional word choice=your listeners focused on your
They provide the following recipe for every leader:
- Identify the point
- Think about issues, ideas, or language that will distract the listener
- Choose vocabulary that will focus on conversations and thinking
- Prepare the frames ahead of time
Hopefully, this reminds all of us to pay attention to our words and PREPARE.