Tiny Word Tweaks

6 wording tweaks to level up your communication, can by applied to all situations.

  1. "Can you" -> "Would you be open to"
    • a connection to a sense of open-mindedness, people consider themselves "open-minded"
  2. Add "because" to any request
    • Social psychologist Ellen Langer experiment: request-plus-reason results in 94% of people letting her skip ahead in line; without reason, only 60%
  3. "Can you" -> "Can we"
    • gives collaborative feeling, comes off less commanding
  4. "What do you think" at the end of suggestions
    • allows you to explain what you think is best, while leaving discussion open
  5. "It seems like" for stalemates in conversations
    • in Never Split the difference by Chris Voss, there's a concept called labeling
    • ex: "it seems like it would be impossible to make this change ..."
    • labelling a negative diffuses a negative
    • negative = "it would be impossible", labelling it causes the other person to disagree with that.
    • it can move forward a conversation, where the other person might say "Well, no. It's not impossible. We could probably do..."
  6. Change order of "but"
    • take these two statements
      • 1) "I see what you're saying, but in my experience, the other way has worked best"
      • 2) "In my experience, the other way has worked best, but I see what you're saying"
      • 1) negates the other person, while 2) negates yourself. To give a collaborative vibe, go for 2), as 1) risks getting them defensive
      • alternative is to swap but -> "at the same time"

These tiny tweaks can go a long way for you to communicate effectively, be someone that's nice to work with, and create a collaborative environment.