Monday, May 4, 2020

Speech Hacks to be More Decisive

I was in a leadership program with Christoper Avery some years ago. In that program, people would say “don’t should on yourself.

Another friend had years ago told me that “should” is the saddest word in English because it means you see value in something, haven’t done it, and probably won’t.

I embarked on a quest to get rid of some aspects of self-defeating speech:

  • Instead of “I’m sorry” say “Thank you”
  • Instead of “No thanks, I can’t eat that” say “No thanks, I won’t eat that.”
  • Instead of “I don’t know how” say “I haven’t learned YET
  • Instead of “I should ” say “I may ” or  “I would like to “.

You know, these little things make a difference for me.

The speech patterns are more decisive and confident, reflect agency and choice, and generally help me avoid shame (in myself) and appearing uncertain or indecisive.

These are just little things, and it's not magic. One a person chooses an attitude they need to find language that supports that attitude.

My speech changes support the internal decisions I've made about how I want to address the world.

I am no psychologist so I can't say why it works for me or whether it will work for you. This isn't a prescription.

If you want to try some or all of these, then go to it. I didn't originate these ideas and you don't owe many any credit if it works wonders for you.  If it doesn't work for you, well, you were warned.

If you try these hacks, then please:
  • Try them for yourself and on yourself. 
  • Do not insist that people use these terms. 
  • Do not chastise or pillory other people for not using these terms.

Does changing a speech pattern really change a person's attitudes? Probably.

Are we wandering into political correctness and the euphemism treadmill right now?
Gosh, I hope not. I'm no expert on those and see both advantages and disadvantages in those things.

I don't feel the authority or invitation to lecture you on how you should/must/shouldn't/mustn't speak. I'm just offering some things you can choose to do or not.

I'm not saying you should.

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