Whether it’s professional or personal communication, women can choose to use power language to become influential. Influence expert, Karen Keller, Ph.D, explains that women need to make a conscious decision to hear what they are saying and the effect it has not only on others but on them.
According to Keller, “Never before has it been so important that women understand the use of power language. The language of powerful women is based on confidence, certainty, and connection. What’s so important in a word? Lots! Without power words, women struggle to get their point across and failing to make an important contribution to an outcome.”
She adds, “In the workplace, language is power. Many women leaders fail to harness that power. Instead of adopting weak language that undermines their authority and effectiveness, they need to adopt a power language, letting people see their value, contribution and confidence.”
Here is Dr. Keller’s list of 3 ways women use language that undermines their power and what they can do to change it:
1. Grammar Weakness. Words that weaken your message, make you invisible, or destroy your confidence. Such as, “It’s my feeling that I think we should…”; “It seems to me that …”; “I don’t know as much as you do …”
Many women use this type of language to build up others’ confidence. The reality is that it is done at the expense of their confidence.
Solution: Adopt the language of success. Choose words that convey vigor, courage and leadership not weakness, fear and uncertainty. Be decisive. “This is what needs to be done.” vs “I think we can do it this way.”
There’s no need to make you the subject of the issue. For instance, “I know this fax machine works,” vs “This fax machine doesn’t work.” Using yourself as the subject places undue responsibility on you. Unless of course, you broke the fax machine. But you get the point.
2. Tail-End Questions. This is the question women add at the end of a sentence. “This is the best sauce, isn’t it?” or “I sent the proposal yesterday, okay?” The sentence already proclaims a statement or fact, but is turned into a question of uncertainty. This simply undermines what you want to communicate.
Other tail-ended questions appear via your tone, “My name is Rita?” This is particularly noticed when people are in group settings. Another form of the tail-end question is body language that shrugs or slumps when speaking. All of these behaviors lead the receiver to view you as powerless.
Solution: Cut the question off at the end. This requires you to think before you speak. Slow down. Count to 5. Allow your confidence in what you are saying to be the focus, not the urge to gather consensus or approval with a tail-end question.
3. Vague Extras. This is the language that tells others you are over the top or insecure. For example, “Yours is certainly the very, very, very best report.” As opposed to, “Yours is the most complete report.” The second example shows specifics, description and voices assurance of what you want to communicate.
Solution: Learn and practice precise words that will express what you want to say and what you want the other person to hear. Watch your credibility you grow when you remove the extra garbage that adds nothing to your message.
Keller concluded, “Power language and power conversations make you powerful. When you use powerful communication, verbal and non-verbal, the world begins to see you as a force to be respected.”
For more information, please visit http://karen-keller.com/media/powerful-women-powerful-language.
About Dr. Keller
Karen Keller, Ph.D. is an expert in women’s leadership and assertiveness training. She is also a successful entrepreneur and author. She specializes in the skills of influence and persuasion, executive coaching, mentoring, sales techniques, management development training, motivational speaking, personal life coaching, and corporate training. Discover Influence It Real Power for Women now. For your free subscription visit www.karen-keller.com.