28 words later: How to plant words into people’s heads and influence the outcome of any conversation

I was in a restaurant in Bristol the other day looking for a nice spot to take the in-laws.

“I’m sorry, we just don’t have any tables,” said the waitress in the first restaurant, “...unfortunately they are all taken. It might be a 15-minute wait or so. Just bear with me a moment…”

She was polite; but did we wait? Absolutely not.

We then went into the restaurant opposite.

“Welcome!,” said the waitress, “Table for four? Certainly. We have a table opening up in 15 minutes. Please come this way to the bar and I will get you a drink.”

What was different?

The situation was the same; no tables.

The second restaurant was our second choice and far more expensive.

But we ate there purely because of the 28 words which came out of her mouth.

That is the wonderful difference between you and a machine.

You have the power of words that you can use to influence people’s decisions.

You plant words and ideas into people’s heads all the time, maybe without realising it. Every word is a choice that dictates where the conversation will go.

For example:

“Hi John, sorry if I have caught you at a bad time, are you busy?” This focuses their attention on how busy they are and seeks out evidence to confirm that you are bothering them. Not a great way to start an interaction.

Compared to:

“Hi John, It’s Jen, Is now a good time?” Their attention then focuses towards whether it is a good time and seeks out evidence to support it. 


What words should I use?

When you are with a client, your time is precious and your words are valuable. Do not waste them.

Words to avoid: Sorry, just, busy, unfortunately, I don’t, I can't, try, might, bear with me, I hope, no worries, no problem

Words to use instead: Thank you, certainly, at present, do, will, can, confident, it’s a pleasure.


Tasks for this week:

Choose your top three

Choose the three "avoid" words that you KNOW you use every day. Challenge yourself to banish them from your vocabulary and replace them with new, more confident words.


Create upwards spirals

Listen out for the words you use with others. Are you talking about how hectic you are, how tired they look or how you hate Mondays? How can you reframe your language to focus on confidence, certainty and success?

Have a great week!