Words are powerful! It’s part of the reason I love quotes. A big punch of awesome packed into a little sentence. Words are also helpful in determining intent. Much like body language and tone can convey additional meaning, word choice is equally telling. I received an e-mail today that said:
Let’s try and connect later today to discuss.
I’m no Sherlock Holmes but I suspect this person has very little intention of trying to connect with me. It’s like Yoda said:
“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Any time I hear someone say they will “try” and do something, my certainty of a desirable outcome drops by at least 50%. In any leadership role, I’ve considered “try,” to be an immediate red flag. I always ask follow up questions:
- Can you quantify that for me?
- How committed are you on scale from 1-5?
- How hard are you going to try?
Furthermore, vague details/timelines are ripe for confusion and dismissal. “Let’s connect later today.” Who’s going to initiate the connection? When is it going to happen: this morning, this afternoon, this evening? How are we going to connect? Basically, I interpret that sentence to mean: I’m going to have to hunt this person down until we connect.
So, do you and your team use “committed language?” Here was my response to the sender’s e-mail:
I’m looking forward to it! I’ll call you at ###-###-####, within 1 hour to set up a time to meet and review the report. Ideally we can find a 2 hour block within the next 24 hours so we can keep the project on track. Looking forward to talking with you shortly.
Who do you think is more committed to meeting and achieving a desirable outcome? Committed language helps you get more done and effectively communicate your intent and tempo.
I hope this helps you Rise Above!