Word choice -- influence with positive communication

Influence with Positive Communication!

Positive communication influences! Negative thoughts, however, can unintentionally obfuscate a positive message, stifle a reader’s engagement with the subject matter, and deflate others’ demeanor.

Attuned to this, you can alter the tone of your text; when conversing, remember the maxim, “Think before you speak.” I demonstrate this below with: 1) a resume bullet, 2) opening paragraphs of a document, and 3) daily discourse.

1. Consider this item extracted from an editor’s resume:

  • Before: Proofread and formatted manuscripts for submission to academic journals, ensuring they accepted the submission without returning for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and reference and citation format errors.
  • AfterFacilitated publication of articles in academic journals by submitting error-free manuscripts (e.g., grammar, spelling, punctuation, and reference and citations)
  • Analysis: The Before version highlights the negative … “without returning for” … followed by the litany of possible errors. The After version portrays this positively, “submitting error free manuscripts,” followed by those same criteria. Also note also the shift in focus, first emphasizing the what – “Facilitated publication of articles” – followed by the lesser important how – “submitting error-free manuscripts.

2. A document’s unduly negative introduction can stymie the reader’s interaction with material. For example, consider a company facing serious challenges. Instead of focusing on potentially dire consequences, expand the aperture to address opportunities those challenges present.

  • Before: Advances in IT are degrading our company’s ability to acquire, process, and analyze financial data from worldwide sources. Without an exigent response, our ability to meet clients’ needs will be sorely degraded. This paper addresses areas most acutely affected and proposes mitigations.
  • After: Advances in IT challenge our ability to acquire, process, and analyze financial data from worldwide sources. This paper proposes ways to modernize our systems, leveraging leading-edge technologies to excel in a competitive environment.
  • Analysis: This approach encourages discovery of innovative solutions

3. In daily discourse, flip negative statements to positive with minor modifications to exude an upbeat attitude. This will energize yourself and others with whom you associate.

  • Negative: Why not?                             Positive: Sounds like a plan.
  • Negative: I can’t complain.                Positive: I’m doing great, thank you for asking.
  • Negative: No problem.                        PositiveI’m happy to help.

Explain what can happen rather than what cannot, demonstrating initiative to find a mutually beneficial solution.

  • Negative: That option is not available          Positive: Let me show you other options
  • Negative: I can’t meet you this week.             Positive: Does next Tuesday work for you?
  • Negative: I can’t answer your question.        Positive: Let me find someone who can help.

When you’ve erred, the natural response is to apologize. However, instead of fixating on your mistakethank someone for his/her response.

  • Negative: Sorry for being late.                          Positive: Thank you for waiting.
  • Negative: Sorry for making that oversight.   Positive: Thank you for catching that!
  • Negative: Sorry for changing the schedule.    Positive: I appreciate your flexibility.

Positive expression is a powerful business tool, critical to building rapport with clients, vendors, colleagues, subordinates, and even supervisors. It facilitates sharing ideas, reaching compromises, and innovating solutions.

Encouraging communication enhances morale, increases productivity, and — strategically applied — can catapult careers (see my article, “A Surprising Leadership Tool” published by IndustryToday.com]

(Inspiration for the dialogue section of this article: Wordgenius.com.transforming negative language into positive.)