Berger Leadership Blog

Jun 10, 2016

Watch your words and phrases

Dan at CEOs
Speaking at this year's CEOs and Senior Executives Conference. (Photo by

We are all aware of how our attire and body language can affect how we are perceived by others. We think through our wardrobes and how we’ll stand before a crowd in order to make the best impression.

However, it is wise to give just as much thought, if not more so, to the words we say.

Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, lists 12 tips in a recent article for using words and phrases that are in your best interest. Her list includes:

- Just say yes. Watch the words “yeah” and “yep.” Replying with “yes” is a solid, strong answer.

- Watch out for verbal fillers. How often to you say “um,” “like,” or “basically”? These words are distracting and are best left out of conversation.

- Don’t bash. Negative phrases such as “I can’t stand” or “I hate” can make you sound immature, Gottsman explains. Stay positive.

- “No problem”. Instead of responding with “no problem” after receiving a “thank you,” a simple “you’re welcome” will make you sound much more professional.

- “Won’t” and “Can’t”. These defeatist words may make you seem like you’re focusing on obstacles instead of solutions, Gottsman writes. Try to avoid them.

More of her tips are here.

The way we talk and the words we say are likely deep-rooted. Practicing with new words and phrases can help shift old habits.

I look forward to seeing many of you next week during NAFCU’s Annual Conference and Solutions Expo! You can keep up with the conference on Twitter by following #NAFCUAnnual and me, @BDanBerger.