The Power of Language

In a letter to her husband, John Adams, Abigail Adams said: “We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.”

I imagine we have all been there at one time or another: when folks say much, yet do not live in integrity with their words and actions. It can be hurtful, disillusioning, and disappointing. Relative to business, I have experienced this many times. There is no magic answer, people will be people, and we cannot change them. We only change ourselves, and how we respond.

Relative to language, how we use our words is the key to insure we are in agreement. I would venture to say that 90%  of our issues and failures in business are due to lack of clarity with our expectations, instructions, and desires for and from the other party.

For example, how many times have we received requests or answers which include words like: soon, ASAP, we, end of the day, best, might, I don’t know for sure, and it depends. And how many other times have we had leaders, clients, or colleagues make requests or give answers which include words like: I own it, I will have it done by ‘x’ date, you can expect ‘x’ from this effort, this is what it will look like when we are completed and this is what you will get from this.

Which effort do you think is more successful? What relationship do you think is anchored on more solid ground? Who would you want to work with? Who would you hire?

Being specific in thought, word and deed will build a stronger relationship, builds stronger accountability on all fronts and leads to success for all parties.