I once bought a pair of eyeglasses at a branch of a national optical chain. After I took the glasses home, I returned to the store a few days later, in order to have the glasses adjusted.
I told the salesperson that the glasses felt too small, and she replied, “They’re not too small; your face is too big.”
After recovering from her comment, I decided that a) I don’t want to purchase anything from that store in the future, and b) there’s a way to say things, and this was not the way, especially if you value the importance of customer service and customer retention.
My friend is a kindergarten teacher. She told me how at lunch, one little girl took out a bag of grapes to eat, and her schoolmates told her that she wasn’t allowed to bring grapes to school. When my friend heard what was happening, she confirmed that indeed, “Grapes are an after school snack,” to which the little girl replied, “Oh, right, because grapes are made with nuts.” Cute story about how in today’s allergy-sensitive world, the kindergartener knew that nuts in school is a no-no. Incidentally, the grape issue is that grapes are a choking hazard.
What struck me, though, was how the teacher referred to the grapes being an “after school snack,” rather than saying something along the lines of, “You aren’t allowed to bring grapes to school.”
There’s a way to say things, which has the ability to sound positive, to motivate others, and to empower.
Many people don’t realize the potential power that words carry. I have written about this before, and I believe it bears repeating.
Whether you are an executive, a manager or team leader, a sales professional, a teacher, or any other type of professional, you have the power to influence people at all levels. Thinking about the way you deliver your message and the words you choose to use will give you the opportunity to shape that influence. I’m not advocating always being super-positive. There are times that call for harsh words. The key is to be mindful of your words. We have very little control of our lives. However, what we can do is be aware of what we say. Words can crush confidence, kill a buzz, or build confidence and inspire.
We all can refer to great speakers. We have heard quotes from motivational speeches given by myriad personalities as different as Winston Churchill, leader of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, and Vince Lombardi, renowned American football coach of the 1960’s.
If, as they say, knowledge is power, then awareness of our words is empowerment.