Positive Communication for Positive Actions and Results

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Image: Marek Uliasz

Positive thinking and speaking is not just esoteric mumbo jumbo preached by some motivational speaker. Positive thinking and speaking can greatly improve your business communications, both written and spoken. When you learn to change your vocabulary and sentence structure (and your mindset) to project positivity, you can affect your own success, and you can bring others along with you, like a 21st Century “Pied Piper” of good feelings and success.

Change Your Vocabulary Through Word Replacement

When you learn to replace negative words with their positive counterparts, the results are surprising and immediate.  It’s like a smile: when you smile at someone, they smile back, and you both feel better, immediately. When you act and talk positively, people tend to respond in kind, and everyone lives happily ever after (or something close to that).

Case in point: I have a friend who manages the sales crew for a large auto dealership. He sent me a photo of a new banner he had made that was to be put up in their conference room, saying how nice it would look above his new conference table. The sign read, “This is a Positive Workplace – Don’t Be Negative.”

Image: Convisum

While that sounds upbeat, replacing “Don’t Be Negative” with “Be Positive” would make a world of difference.  Read it again and you’ll feel the difference: “This is a Positive Workplace – Be Positive!”

Simply replacing negative words (“don’t be” and “negative”) with their positive counterparts (“be” and “positive”) conveys his message more clearly and sounds much more like encouragement, rather than an ominous order. This was a pricey lesson for my friend, but he willingly paid to have the large banner reprinted…positively.

Examples you can put into practice today:

Replace “but” with “and”:

“I like your idea, but I would like to show you mine.”

The “but” diminishes the first part of the sentence, implying that you don’t really like their idea so much, possibly putting the person with whom you’re speaking on the defensive.

“I like your idea, and I would like to show you mine.”

With a simple replacement of one word, you now are conveying a positive collaboration, and have a much more receptive listener.

“You did great work, but I think you can do better next quarter.”


“You did great work, and I think you can do better next quarter.”

And” doesn’t negate the good work like “but” seems to do. It also sounds much more encouraging.

Replace “if” with “when”:

If you choose to go with our company’s proposal, you will realize a 28% reduction in annual costs.”

The “if” subconsciously reinforces to the potential client that she might not select your company.

When you choose to go with our company’s proposal, you will realize a 28% reduction in annual costs.”

Using “when” here sounds more like a forgone conclusion that she will accept your offer. This one is more subliminal (a form of linguistic programming – a topic for another time), and it definitely works.

Add “yet” to a negative statement to add a sense of hope:

“I don’t know the answer to your question.”

This is final. You don’t know. End of discussion. You fail.

“I don’t know the answer to your question, yet.”

There’s hope! You don’t know, but you are going to find out. This is not the end of the story. The answer is out there and you’re going to find it! One tiny word – so much hope!

Look where you’re going, or you’ll go where you’re looking

We used to have a sailboat out on Lake Texoma, and my dad taught me how to pilot her. I fell in love with sailing. There is so much to do and learn, and through it all, I also found a great life lesson. I noticed that while the waters were smooth, the weather was good, and we were not headed inland, I could relax, forget about my worries, and just… sail. It was so peaceful.

However, I learned that even if you point the boat where you want to go, if you let your focus drift, the boat will drift with you. If you don’t focus on where you want to go, the boat will go where you’re looking, rather than where you aimed her. It’s because of things called “micro-movements” – the little imperceptible things you subconsciously do that take you where your focus is, not necessarily where you want to go. Simply put, the boat goes where you’re looking. How does this apply?

When you speculate about the potential outcome of a particular scenario, you are only guessing – you may be right, or you may be wrong – either way, you’re merely guessing. It is exactly as easy to guess that the positive potential outcome will come true as it is to assume the negative will happen. So (and back to the sailing lesson), just focus your brain on only the outcome you want, and your magnificent brain will do its little micro-movement things and take you right where you want to go! Someone else said it before me: if you think you can, you’re probably right, and if you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Warning: Possible Side Effects

Positive talking and thinking is very habit forming. With continued use, it can cause excessive happiness, and increased success. It is also highly contagious. Suddenly you’ll find yourself surrounded by positive people – you’ve become that Pied Piper for good. Here’s to your positive future!

Staff One HR managers can assist and support you through positive communication, employee engagement, creating a positive, intentional company culture, and training specific to your workplace.  Call 1.800.771.7823, or contact the author directly at tracy.stone@staffone.com.