12 Most Powerful Words in Business

12 Most Powerful Words in Business

Office conference rooms, cubicles, corner offices and common areas are crammed with business jargon that dulls imaginations and saps creativity.

Many powerful words for business have nary a thing to do, directly, with industry.

1. Why

Polite push back can temper group think. Ask why “things have always been done that way.” Or ask why it didn’t work the last time you tried it.

2. Show

People like proof. They want to see things with their own eyes. It’s human nature. So, in trying to reach and win over customers, clients, colleagues or management show your ideas with examples. Draw an analogy, give an anecdote, paint a picture. Help them see what you see. Show them, and they’ll be far more likely to get it and get on board.

3. Goof

Trying something that didn’t work, as long as it wasn’t impulsively foolish, dangerous or illegal, can be regarded as the trial run or first draft.

4. Reflect

Breathe, pause and collect yourself before you send an email while angry or take a criticism too personally or speak when emotion is clouding your judgment. The repair work required after colleagues lash out is wasteful, unproductive and inefficient.

5. Do

Sure, market testing and focus groups have their place. But business success takes action and plenty of “do.”

6. Listen

Hearing is a function. Listening is a skill. It takes practice. But it yields immeasurable dividends. Extra points if you listen, consider alternative options, critical feedback and adjust course because of it.

7. Learn

The staggering pace of growth in social media shows how essential it is to learn all through life. Learning can mean formal training, of course. But learning also happens by staying nimble enough to act when opportunities appear.

8. Open

Being open to change, open to being wrong, open-minded and open to new possibilities can lead to new products, new clients, new markets and entirely new ways of doing business.

9. Respect

Civility eases differences among humans. When I was an editorial writer, my colleagues and I would gather each morning to discuss the official position the Cleveland Plain Dealer would take on the most controversial topics of the day. Politics, religion, social issues… you name it. It worked well largely because the group was civil and respectful. And our boss was an awesome leader who made sure the discussions stayed that way.

10. Lead

Leading is much more powerful than managing. Think about it: you manage problems. You manage bills. Or you manage just to cope! Leading, on the other hand, is nuanced, customized and inspired.

11. Fail

Fear of failing keeps people from doing all sorts of things: piping up at a meeting with an idea, starting a business or taking other risks. Failing is really an inevitable part of taking risks. And taking risks is an inevitable part of a strong business. For more on this topic, you may be interested in my post 12 Most Inspiring Fails to Make in Your Career.

12. Regroup

After failing, it’s important to learn what when wrong and how to do it better next time. This is the true secret of missteps. Through the lessons learned in the aftermath, greatness can emerge.

So, how’s that for out of the box? Those are the ones I nominate. Which ones would you suggest?

Featured image courtesy of CarbonNYC licensed via Creative Commons.

Becky Gaylord

http://www.gaylordllc.com

Becky worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C.; Sydney, Australia; and Cleveland, Ohio for major publications including the New York Times, Salon.com, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and was Associate Editor of the Plain Dealer's Editorial Page before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. The company helps clients improve their external relations and communication and increase their influence and impact. Becky blogs about that (a few other things) at Framing What Works.

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