The Power of Words – Part One

(This entry first appeared in October 2008. I sent it as an email blast for an internal communication project with the title, Writer’s Toolbox: The Power of Words – Part One.)

As a graduate student in the summer of 2008, I had a classmate who was fond of saying, “I’ll try.” We were on the same team, and we had to come up with a group presentation for our marketing class.

During our dry run, I suggested that she speak in a voice loud enough that will reach the back of the room. Being a little soft-spoken, I coaxed her to project her voice because the presentation is also our final exam. She said, “I’ll try.” I replied, “You will not try. You will.”

I proceeded to explain that words have ‘power.’ To simply “try” means that the person is not really committed to the task at hand, an activity, or even a request for help. That’s because at the back of our minds, we’re trying to figure a way out of the situation.

Want to sound more convincing? Like you really mean what you’re going to do? Lessen the use of the word “try” unless you cannot carry out an action. Instead say:
– I will speak clearly when I present on Friday.
– I will attend to your request as soon as I send out the Writer’s Toolbox.
– I will call you back after our 3 p.m. meeting.

Incidentally, that classmate did not only speak clearly, but she also presented without looking too much at her notes!

That’s the power of “I will.”

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