Use Your Words to Create Your Actions

Let’s start with a seasonal example. Have you made your new year’s resolutions, or have you made your new year’s intentions?

Does it really matter? As my favorite morning radio host proclaimed, fewer than half of the population does either, and of those who do, most will be over it in just a few months. How discouraging!

So how do you put your words to work for you? By thinking about the choice carefully, noting, in this case, the level of commitment; the determination called for. A “resolution” says you will do it. A resolution means commitment.

An “intention,” according to my Webster’s, “implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about….” An intention gives you some wiggle room. You can “mean to,” but somehow it doesn’t get done.

Let’s look at another example. You invite a friend for dinner at 6 p.m. tomorrow night. He says, “I’ll try.” So how many places will you set at your table? “Try” is another one of those words lacking commitment – maybe he’ll be there, and maybe not. But if he accepts, “Yes, I’ll be happy to come,” you can safely set a place for him.

Watch out for how you use “weasel words” – the ones that leave you wiggle room – if you want to make it happen.

Here are a couple of common phrases that can make a real difference in how you feel at the end of the day.

The words and phrases you use when you are asked to perform a task on the job can make a very real difference in how you feel at the end of the day. So often we say something like, “I can’t get to that until Wednesday,” perhaps reinforcing, or even creating an “overwhelmed” feeling. A loss of control. How much better could you feel at the end of the day if you reply, “I can have that for you by Wednesday.” There’s a sentence that puts you right back on top: You are indeed in charge!

Note: This slight change of wording not only relieves that overwhelmed feeling, and gives you a “great attitude” reputation, but also positions you as a competent, capable achiever! (Of course you will have to deliver, so remember to check your schedule first.)

How about the phrase we hear so often: “I’ll have to….” Now there’s a phrase that will have your tired out and dragging by the end of the day! Think of hearing yourself say, many, many times a day, “I’ll have to…” “I’ll have to…” “I’ll have to….” It’s exhausting just to contemplate! But how about saying, “I’ll be glad to…” and setting up reasonable expectations?

Finally, let’s think of a way to reduce your frustration level. You know, when you ask someone for something, and don’t get so much as an acknowledgement of your request?

When you are making a request, ask. Just ask. Don’t explain why (unless it’s part of what you’re asking for, or about). Too much information can lead to more frustration and lost time for you, along with the end result that there’s a good possibility your request will be laid aside for later consideration by your reader. Make it easy for your reader to get back to you. Like requesting a response typed into the body of the email, in a different color, so that your reader will not have to compose a new email, a complete response, or even a complete sentence! The easier the better.


Let Gail Tycer show you how to write less, say more – and get results! Business writing workshops – your location ours •Meeting presentations and BreakoutsExecutive coaching  •Consulting  •Writing and editing  To see how we might work together, call Gail at 503/292-9681, or email