Using Powerful Words to Regain Power

by Jul 16, 2012

In his book, The Articulate Executive in Action, Granville Toogood discusses the use of something he calls CVA (communications value added). The rule of CVA is this: what you say and how you say it can determine your success. Once you get the hang of it, it can become your greatest asset.

Practitioners of CVA use the hi-C’s: concept, conviction, clarity, candor, credibility, character, coolness, concentration, color, competence, crispness, civility, consistency, continuity, creativity, cohesion, caring and communication. In contrast, those who lack CVA may exhibit emptiness, uncertainty, fuzziness, doubt, fear, absentmindedness, drabness, blather, indifference, and alienation.

Users of CVA speak to “primal mind” – that gut reaction in people. In other words, be innovative; find an opportunity to offer something beneficial to the company, save the company thousands (if not millions) of dollars, or improve productivity; and march right into the next meeting and tell everyone at the table what it takes to make this thing happen. Muscular language has a lot more impact than abstract explanations about your plan.

And finally, use powerful words. Here are some examples.
Say:
cut instead of reduce
slash instead of lower
keep instead of maintain
yet instead of nevertheless
so instead of therefore
but instead of however
grab instead of acquire
strike instead of delete
give instead of donate
big instead of significant
hot instead of fashionable
launch instead of implement

And most of all, don’t let that bully steal your confidence away!

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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