The only thing more important than the language you use are the actions you take with both contributing to the perceptions that others have of you. Recently, I watched a CEO speaking with a large group of employees talking as though he were a champion of his people, yet, his language betrayed him as he created an image that his words were merely false praise. A few examples of his comments included:

“We had a great first quarter, the best ever, but I know we can do even better than that.”

“Our Net Promoter scores for customers service are at their highest levels to date, but we are still having some customer complaints in areas where we could be doing better.”

“We have a great company and a great team of people, however, I know we can take this up a notch. Don’t settle for the great success we are having today because, if you do, all you’ll have are memories of a good past.”

Here was a Harvard educated, highly successful CEO of a reputable company saying one thing while communicating another. As I watched the audience, you could visibly see the discouragement in their faces as he lathered on the praise then shaved it away in one stroke with the words “but” and “however” followed by the comments that came after. In talking with the CEO he knew, from watching the audience, that something was wrong, yet, could not identify the issue. When I pointed out his choice of words he acknowledged his shock that something so simple could have such a huge, negative impact. Humbly, he asked me how he could have phrased his comments differently, and here is what I suggested:

“We had a great first quarter, the best ever, AND I know we can build on this success in the coming quarters.

“Our Net Promoter scores for customer service are at their highest levels to date, AND we will be rolling out plans as to how we will use this momentum to continue to increase customer satisfaction.”

“We have a great company and a great team of people, AND we will continue to leverage the people-power in this organization to make our company even greater.

Often, all you have are your words. Choose them carefully. Eliminate the contradictions, including all of the buts, howevers, and other words that negate all of the positive things you say and do.

Views: 254

Comment by Darryl Dioso on May 30, 2012 at 10:46am

Great advice. So simple and still so hard for many of us to do.

Comment by Shannon Erdell on May 30, 2012 at 12:52pm

After practicing this tactic for a few years, I know that replacing BUT with AND has a profound impact. AND forces our minds to expand and think of all the possibilities.  Also, there is a power in acknowledging the negative, AND rather than pretending it isn't there . .  using it as a spring-board for positive thoughts and actions!  Thank for the great reminder, Scott!


You need to be a member of RecruitingBlogs to add comments!

Join RecruitingBlogs


All the recruiting news you see here, delivered straight to your inbox.

Just enter your e-mail address below


RecruitingBlogs on Twitter

© 2020   All Rights Reserved   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service