Are your words working . . . for good?

Many of us have made New Year’s resolutions, which may or may not have already been broken. Here’s one more suggestion: try focusing on the positive in your written and spoken words.

There are a lot of clichés floating around this time of year, encouraging us to do good things. Be nice. Think of others. Be kind. They are nice thoughts, but a bit vague.

Most of us probably want to be better people. Even so, dictionary.com’s word of the year for 2016 was xenophobia. Basically, that means a fear of people we don’t know or who are foreign to us.

How do we overcome that fear and become better people at the same time? By using our words for good.

Instead of saying “I don’t trust that person because I don’t know her,” try “I would like to get to know that person so I can learn more about who she is and how we can help each other.”

Using our words to learn more about others can help us remove the barriers that create misunderstanding and mistrust. As business people, in particular, we need to use positive words when interacting with potential clients, with employees, with vendors, and with each other.

So here’s an experiment for you. During the next week, focus on your words. Do you automatically say something negative when someone does something you don’t like? Stop and think about how you can turn that around, into a positive.

For example, if a vendor is slow in delivering a product you ordered, try starting with the positive: “You have a successful business, which is wonderful, and I understand you may be overwhelmed with orders. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help the process go a little smoother.”

If an employee clearly needs some direction as she is not able to do her job up to your standards, try: “Sally, you are trying so hard and I appreciate that. How can I help you? Let’s work through this together.”

You may be amazed at the response you receive when you use your words for good.

Let me know how it goes!

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