Even the best communicators need to take the time to finesse their messages. This article will help you refine your phrasing to SpeakSTRONG.
SpeakSTRONG Step #3: Refine your phrasing. Make every word matter.
An ineffective expert
You’d think Daniel would be famous. He is the expert in his field. He knows what he’s talking about. He has spent decades studying and refining his knowledge base. Ask him any question and he can give you an extensive, informed reply. He’s the one experts go to for answers. What Daniel has to say is significant and can make a difference to individuals and the world. Yet, Daniel is not a highly effective communicator. His conversations, talks and articles do not engage or interest. Daniel shakes his head when he sees people with half his knowledge experience the success and get the platform he has not been able to obtain.
Right, righteous and scary
You’d think Mellissa would have a lot of champions. She was the one who stood up and spoke out when her supervisor was preparing to do something both unethical and illegal. Many other employees took issue with the supervisor, but only Mellissa had the courage to speak. Her disclosure saved the company probable legal problems and public embarrassment. Yet Mellissa found few people willing to back her in her efforts to address the underlying systems problem that let unethical behavior go unchecked. Mellissa’s message is significant and substantive, but Mellissa is not a highly effective communicator. Her fervor scares potential allies.
Get a clue
It’s not enough to be right or righteous. If your words don’t engage, inform and inspire the results you want, you might as well be clueless. You need to get a clue, have a clue, and speak in ways that clue others in. Highly effective communicators start with substance and significance and finesse their phrasing to make every word matter. They take their essence and take the time to refine their phrasing.
The frame makes the picture
The right words are like the perfect frame for a picture. You don’t want a frame that overshadows, conflicts with, or diminishes a picture. Instead, you want a frame that draws attention to and enhances its essential beauty. A powerful message deserves the most eloquent wording, just as a beautiful picture deserves a classy – and carefully selected – frame.
Find the frame
One way to start can be to pick phrases from a book such as my phrase books. Another approach is to take what you came up with in step 2 of The SpeakSTRONG Method, and work from there. Ask the following questions.
- Is it clear?
- Is it interesting?
- Does it move the situation forward?
- Does it sound like the language of a leader?
- Can I use more colorful words?
- Can I tap into their experience better?
- Does it create imagery and paint pictures?
- How would I respond if someone said this to me?
- How can I say it better?
Write with your thesaurus open to find the very best words to say everything.
When the stakes are high
If you’re serious about honing your words to perfection, check out my Brand-aid article, For example, by-lines, book titles, and even subject lines in important emails deserve a greater depth of thinking. But then again, so do marriage proposals, thank-you notes and compliments.
The right and wrong word can make the difference between success and failure. It can make the difference between making someone’s day or spoiling it. It can make the difference between getting the job or not getting the job. Have something to say, and then find the way to say it best.
My PowerPhrases! book and other phrase books are full of carefully crafted phrases to help you with Step 3 of the SpeakSTRONG Method: Refine your Phrasing.