“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” — Edith Wharton
Do you know those people that make you feel comfortable, confident, or empowered? Have you ever wondered what they’re doing to unleash your potential and how you can do the same for others?
Let me tell you a short story:
A group of frogs was traveling through the forest when suddenly one of them fell into a deep pit. The other frogs gathered around the pit. When they realized how deep it was, they said that there was no hope left for him. But the frog started to try to jump out of the pit.
The crowd of frogs started to yell at him to just give up because it’s impossible to make it out. But, he continued to jump as hard as he could, and finally made it out.
When he got out, the other frogs asked him: “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
Moral of the story:
Words are powerful and can make a big difference in other people’s lives. They can inspire others, make them fall in love, go to war, and even save lives. One of the easiest things that we can do for others is to use words that inspire and create better lives.
People have evolved a lot in the last hundreds of years and our needs have changed too. According to Maslow’s hierarchy, there are five categories of needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.
Even if we evolved a lot, a third of the world’s population still lacks food, water, or safe shelter. The vast majority of people are not worried anymore about the basic needs of the pyramid and the focus has moved from the bottom of the hierarchy upwards.
One thing is clear: Our need to be appreciated, loved, and encouraged is bigger than ever. But, what can we do to encourage and support others?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
Dale Carnegie says that there are only four ways to have contact with the world: by what we do, by how we look, by what we say, and how we say it. That means that words are more powerful than we believe; they can inspire, discourage, break a relationship, or accelerate a career. We can bring motivation and confidence by simply using positive and empowering words.
Let’s imagine a conversation between a manager and an employee. The same message in different words:
- “You have to finish the task by tomorrow!”
- “I have no doubts that we will have the task finished by tomorrow. Let me know if I can be of any help.”
The first sentence sounds like a command. The employee is alone and his only right is to execute a command. There is no compassion or relation between the manager and the employee.
In the second example, the employee is not alone anymore. The manager and the employee are a team. Their relationship is based on trust. The employee can ask for help if needed. By expressing his trust in finishing the task, the manager motivates the employee to give his best.
There are many similar situations when we can empower our interlocutor. By using empowering words, the results will be extraordinary. Let’s analyze some more examples of how we can turn a simple conversation into a creative and empowering one.
For example, instead of saying “I’m sorry for being late”, it’s more helpful to say “Thanks for waiting for me so long. I really appreciate your patience.”
By excusing or explaining why you have been late, no one is really helped. Don’t waste your time saying words that no one cares about! Your time is the most precious gift.
Try to transform your excuses into appreciation phrases and positive remarks.
- I cannot join the call tonight. -> Thanks for understanding me.
- I know I talk too much -> Thanks for listening to me.
Ask questions instead of giving orders and the results will be amazing.
- Get this done by ten! -> Can you have this done by ten?
- You might consider this! -> Do you think that would work?
Encourage others before they even start. Saying something like “Well done!” it’s not an encouragement. It’s a reward.
- I trust you! You are stronger than you know.
- We’ll figure it out together!
Some words have the power to unleash our potential and move forward with incredible forces. Using them will help us see brilliant results in others. Here are the top seven words that I love to use and helped me empower others:
Depending on how good you know your interlocutor, you will be able to adapt your speech and achieve incredible results. Focus on his strengths! Try to discover what motivates him and what he likes.
My top favorite empowering phrases:
- I understand you.
- I’m proud of you.
- You are making a difference around here.
- There’s something in you that the world needs.
- I appreciate what you did/ your determination/ you/ ….
- I can see you’re having a positive impact in…
- I think you did a great job when you… it showed that you had…
“One kind word can change someone’s entire day.” — Unknown
Communication can be an extraordinary tool that aids us to connect with others and instill positive behaviors and emotions in ourselves and the people around us.