Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 08, 2016

10 powerful, motivating words

Dan speaking at Growth
Speaking at NAFCU's Strategic Growth Conference last month. (David Braun photo)

Words can motivate. The things CEOs and managers say are often magnified by the employees and colleagues we are trying to lead in a certain direction.’s Jeff Haden echoes this sentiment and highlights a guest blog post from Courtney Seiter, who works for social-media sharing tool Buffer. Seiter lists 10 words and phrases that are extremely motivating, and seven that are not.

Her 10 motivating words:

  1. If. Thinking hypothetically takes the pressure off people and can improve performance.
  2. Could. Saying “could” instead of “should” can aid creativity.
  3. Yes.
  4. Together. This word creates a team atmosphere.
  5. Thank you.
  6. Choose to. There’s a big difference in saying “choose to” rather than “have to.”
  7. And. This word can help better convey a contrary opinion versus using “but.”
  8. Because. Give a reason for your actions.
  9. (Your name). Everyone likes to hear their own name.
  10. Willing. This is a helpful word which can turn a “no” into a “yes,” Seiter says.

Her list of seven words to avoid: need, must, can’t, easy, just, only and fast.

I try to incorporate these motivating words in my individual discussions as well as at our management team and “all staff” meetings. It’s one of those things that you must actually embrace, practice and execute. And I’ll be darned, they seem to work.  Follow me on Twitter (@BDanBerger).