Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just Words.... And Why They are Important...

The book I read this week was Ten Powerful Phrases for Positive People by Rich DeVos. Interesting book, written by the cofounder of Amway and Chairman for Orlando Magic. DeVos has ten simple chapters named by the phrase and then in each chapter he writes about the usage and importance. Although I think DeVos does a great job using examples from his own life, I think it may be slightly boring if I repeat these stories, especially if you intend to pick up this book. Instead, I will give you the phrases and I will give my explanation of importance. Let's get to it!

"I'm wrong"- It's important as a leader to be able to confess when you have done something wrong. If you don't know how to admit when you are wrong you come off as arrogant, and as a result, your team trusts and respects you less. If you admit when you are wrong, you come off as human, and have a great potential to build rapport.

"I'm sorry"- Again, no one is infallible. Once you admit you are wrong, it's alright to tell someone you are sorry. This is usually best served if, in the moment of your arrogance, you argued with somebody. If the two phrases are used effectively, they can stop a storm of a fight and hurt feelings. If you treated someone unfairly or did something "wrong" then it's okay to apologize. I promise you won't come off appearing weak.

"You can do it" and "I believe in you"- Encouragement... everyone wants it. It's a large reason that many people work as hard as they do. Someone encouraged them and they felt so excited that someone cared. It feels really good to have the support of those around you when you are going to pursue a difficult task. Many times when I lose faith in myself to do something BIG, my friends and family are there to give me a few words of encouragement and I gain the momentum to get whatever task done.

"I'm proud of you"- After somebody has done something BIG it's nice to give them this phrase. It's another reason people do great things. It starts when we are little, we get all A's and our parents say "I'm proud of you" and give you a big hug. Attention is very important and everyone craves it. After that child was given that attention they crave that feeling again so they shoot for all A's again. As a leader, it's important to manage people's behaviors by acknowledging that they did something great. If you do it right, the behavior will become a routine and you will have effectively led that person to greatness.

"Thank you"- I think this is a phrase that isn't said as much as it was in past generations. Telling someone thank you is a wonderful way to build that person up, create a stronger relationship, and differentiate yourself from every other person out there. My grandma has stressed the importance of writing thank yous to people. I have been better and better about writing them and now I have the top drawer of my desk filled with thank you cards, envelopes, and stamps. Writing a thank you card is one of my favorite ways to show appreciation, however, the words can be said at anytime, not just in a card. I have made it a habit to always thank people in the service industry. Your waitress, cashier, office staff... thank them all!

"I need you"- If you need something, ask for it. In my post on Never Eat Alone, I write about the importance of asking people for favors. If you tell someone you need them for something, it brings them closer to you and builds up that relationship. Depending on the task you needed help with it might be a good idea to send them a thank you card too.

"I trust you" and "I respect you"- Some people may have the impression that you trust or respect them by the responsibilities you give them. However, they don't know for sure unless you tell them. So, just say the words, it will make them feel great, and probably even make them smile!

"I love you"- Everyone has had these three little words said to them, even if by your parents. They amaze me so much. When someone says them to you, they have so much power. Every family should be built on love, and people close to you may feel that you love them, but they don't know until you say it. Don't hold back, say it...

"I am happy for you"- This one wasn't in the book, but I feel it is especially powerful. My grandpa introduced this one to me when I was young. I can't remember who he said it to or when it was, but it stuck with me. I remember I said it to someone on the phone one day when I was with him within the last couple years. He told me after I hung up the phone how powerful those words were... little did he know, I got it from him!

So there you go... You are armed with a very powerful arsenal of phrases. I want to take this moment to explain the importance of tone. A widely repeated statistic on communication indicates that communication is 7% words, 38% body language, and 55% tone. Woah! 55%! If you are going through the checkout lane in your local grocery store and the cashier is disengaged, looking down the whole time, and monotonically says "how are you today?"... you don't even feel obligated to respond... it's because they are not communicating! Use your body language and your tone of voice to appropriately communicate your message. Make the recipient of your message feel engaged and obligated to respond to you! Communication is the most important skill to master in the business world. After you can effectively communicate, it's all downhill towards wealth and happiness.

This book was good, but I spelled out a lot of the transferable information on this post. If you are interested in DeVos' life, which is pretty fascinating, I recommend you give this book a shot. If you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

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