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Use Empowering Language to Take Personal Responsibility for Your Situation and Your Choices  

Do you want to be in the driver’s seat? Do you want to communicate with clarity, power and intention? Listen to yourself speak and choose your words carefully.   

Replace “should” with “choose, desire or want”.  

Examples:  Instead of saying “I really should start looking around at some new options”, say “I want to explore new options”.

Replace “can’t”, with “I choose not to”; replace “must” with “I choose to”.  

Example: Instead of saying “I know I must make a change, but I can’t fit it in”, say “I choose to spend my time on activities that will move me forward in transition.”

Replace references to forces outside of you with “I” language.  

Example: Instead of saying “the system makes me crazy”, say “I am frustrated by this situation where my values are not honored.”

“We have no integrity when we attribute . . . our feelings and emotions to someone else, or the weather, or to anything which we can’t control [and] deny our own ability to choose alternative behaviors.” ---Julia Penelope   

The Power of “And” 

Here is a powerful way to express your views in a way that is respectful of other people’s ideas and improves the chances that YOUR ideas will be heard.    Substitute the word “and” for “but”.  

For example, rather than saying:  “I understand what your issue is, but I don’t agree with you,” say “I understand what your issue is, and my view is . . . .”      Having someone “but” your idea is much like getting a mild slap upside the head.  

A “but” often turns off effective listening in those very individuals that you want to influence.  Another way to use “and” is to add to views already expressed.  

Rather than saying,  “That is an important point, but you left out the most significant point,” say, “That is important point and I would add to that these other points.”

Francine R. Gaillour, MD, Business Consultant and Executive Coach for Healthcare Leaders francine@physicianleadership.com, (206) 686-4205


Francine R. Gaillour, MD, MBA, FACPE
15600 NE 8th Street, Suite B1-173
Bellevue, WA  98008
(206) 686-4205

Francine R. Gaillour, MD   ©2006 Ki Health, Inc.