Whether on paper or spoken in person, your words have an impact on how others view you and your company. “If you think choosing precisely the right words doesn’t matter much, you’re wrong,” Minda Zetlin writes in an article for Inc. “A single word can have amazing power to change human behavior, usually without our being aware of it.” So, those who do have excellent control over their language have a great advantage over others who do not, and they are most likely to convert others.
In her article, Zetlin recounts an experiment by social psychologist Ellen Langer that highlighted which words have the most power and hold the most influence over others. The most powerful word that you can use is “you.” Why? People are primarily focused on themselves and their own needs. Before you can sell someone on an idea, “ you need to engage their attention, and the best way is to let them know right from the beginning how what you have to say will benefit them,” Zetlin explains. This is accomplished by including the word “you” in conversations.
Other words can be powerful as well, helping you influence prospects and clients. For example, the following words convey a sense of urgency:
- Must not
- Don’t miss
- Only (as in “only three days left” or “only five available”)
Check out Zetlin’s article for other must-use words, including those that create a connection with others, inspire trust, promise reward, and create a connection. By consciously adding these words and phrases to your sales conversations, you can boost your credibility and influence listeners—putting you ahead of competitors who are less linguistically inclined.