The words we use have power.
The power to educate, excite, remove fear, and gain commitment as well as provide clarity, comfort, and hope.
They also have the power to show our ignorance, focus on ourselves, lack of conviction, and can create fear, confusion, and lack of clarity.
That’s why, when the WorkWise LLC sales team, the developers and providers of valuable business solutions, the RB-ERP and OnContact CRM, debated word choice during our sales workshop last week, I listened.
Wayne Wedell, President, challenged the group to eliminate “wimpy words” from their conversations.
What makes a word wimpy? A word is wimpy when it offers no value and minimizes the impact of what we are communicating.
Not being a fan of ‘absolutes,’ (I believe that people and situations are unique and you should never, say ‘never.’ ) I listened to the debate and agree that there are words that are wimpy!
The wimpy words to remove from your vocabulary when describing, asking for, or committing to something are:
Just. “We’re just going to …“ or “I’m just a rep for …”
Just minimizes whatever follows. The statement is much stronger without it.
- “We’re going to …”
- “I’m a rep for …”
Try. “I’m going to try and make it on time.” or “I’ll try to get this done for you.” Or “We try to offer the best value for the solution.”
Are you or aren’t you? Try is not a commitment, it leaves an escape (or an excuse).
- “The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and I will be there.”
- “I’ll get this done for you by …”
- “We provide the best value for this solution …”
I Think. “I think that we will …” or “I think that you should …”
These two words add nothing. They weaken the statements.
- “We will …”
Hopefully and Obviously.
“Hopefully this will …” or “I’m hopeful you will …”
“Obviously the system can …” “It seems obvious that …”
Hopefully sounds pessimistic and timid. And if it’s obvious, then we shouldn’t waste their time. Or worse, make them feel stupid that they didn’t “see it” without us pointing it out to them.
- “The system does …”
- “If you look here, I’ll show you that …”
Just for fun: I found a way to use all of these in one extremely wimpy sentence!
“Hopefully, I think we can get through the agenda today so we can obviously try to just move forward.”
A caveat: There are some times when these same words reduce fear and the feeling of interrogation when asking questions in a sales conversation.
- I’m trying to understand…
- I think that discussing this will help …
- I’m just going to ask three questions …
Used as word minimizers, they take pressure off the recipient and make it easy for them to respond.
The key when you need to educate, excite, remove fear, and gain commitment, is to remove the wimpy words for a powerful message.