Do you struggle with how to start an email or even a face-to-face conversation? A business writing professor in graduate school once drilled in the importance of starting any message with “you” or some similar reference to the other person.
Why? Didn’t it catch your attention when this message started with a question about you? If it had started with something like “I have some information about words …” you might not have been so interested. (You are interested, aren’t you?)
We like reading about ourselves. More importantly, we like thinking that other people feel we are important enough to address as a first priority.
So, remember the word “you” in all your communications.
Other important words are the obvious “please” and “thank you.” Wait, maybe those aren’t so obvious. You don’t hear them used a lot in business transactions anymore. There is a local coffee shop employee who always says “please and thank you” — together, just like that. While it’s a bit different, at least she uses the words and uses them appropriately.
Words of respect are incredibly important. A respectful “yes” instead of a lazy “yeah,” for example. And, “sir” and “ma’am” may seem old fashioned but some people still appreciate the respect they convey.
Words of empathy are especially meaningful these days. Saying “I understand” and truly meaning it can change someone’s attitude and possibly even lift their load a bit, as long as it doesn’t come off as scripted.
When you convey respect and empathy, you might give someone a sense of hygge or you might even experience hygge yourself. Hygge, “borrowed” from the Danish, means a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable. Although this key word actually dates back to 1960, it is definitely something we could all use today, right?
Are your words working for you?
Need help with that? Let me know!