I have spoken a number of times of the value of the right word at the right time; and how the words can be understood differently because of experience, culture or conditioning.

Today I want to talk about the little words that mean a lot – and we may not even realise it.

Over the past two weeks Trischel has been busy conducting effective communication workshops for a number of organisations and businesses around Australia – and as part of those workshops we have been extolling the virtue of giving Positive Feedback as a way of encouraging willingness to change and grow.

Most of us know that recognition and appreciation is a more effective way of motivating performance in the workplace – and I am sure that we have had personal experience of the feeling of let down when something we have spent time and effort on has not been appreciated.

Anyone who works in voluntary organisation knows that volunteers can’t be motivated by financial rewards – what keeps them involved is having their contribution recognised.

Those with good leadership skills also know that a quick word of encouragement or of praise can have a real impact on their staff’s willingness to give that extra little bit that makes the difference.

So – what are the little words that make a difference?

One of the most deflating words in the dictionary is the word ‘but’ – and unfortunately we can use it without thinking and undo all our good work.

“That was a really carefully worked out proposal Linda …” Linda is now feeling good about her project, her attention to detail has been recognised and apparently appreciated; she is feeling upbeat … and then –

BUT it needs ……” it doesn’t really matter what it needs, Linda now has plummeted to the depths – she thought she had done well – then wham! With one simple word her success has been snatched away. Deflated and despondent, Linda is not open to suggestions for improvement.

Let’s see if we can add another little word to change that despondency to enthusiastic agreement.

That was a really carefully worked out proposal Linda …” Again Linda is feeling great about her work, appreciation of all she has done has given her a positive feeling – then..

AND I think we can enhance to the proposal further by including the latest figures from Sales.”

Linda still feels upbeat about what she has achieved, and is now open to ideas on improving it. Being asked to enhance an existing piece of work which has been recognised is no problem and doesn’t affect her feeling of being appreciated.

The power of the attitude is in the smallest of words – ‘But’ leaves us feeling down as we feel we have not measured up – ‘And’ maintains the positive attitude by affirming our contribution, while going on to improvement.

When using the psychology of positive affirmation we should be aware of the impact the little words can have – and ensure that we don’t undo all our good work by misusing the little words that matter.

Michele @ Trischel

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