In business, and really in all walks of life, words are crucial because effective, clear, and positive communication is an essential cornerstone of any relationship.
In the Bible, we can find many passages about the power of words, the mouth, or the tongue. One of the most famous verses about this matter is:
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” ~ Proverbs 18:21
This is one of my favorite verses and one that has truly guided both my motherhood and mompreneur journeys.
In my childhood, I learned just how painful words can be, especially those said out of anger, impatience, or frustration from an adult to a child, so I have been very intentional in the way I speak to my daughters.
But not all damaging words are said in the heat of a moment; there are poisonous words that are said casually, calmly, and with conviction that can really cut deep or simply create a limiting belief that sabotages a person’s entire life until that belief is questioned, challenged, and replaced with a healthy, empowering one.
Ironically, we know that no matter how infuriating or irritating something or someone gets to be in a business setting, you are asked to keep it professional.
We are taught that business is not about feelings, emotions, or sensations, but that is impossible, because business is conducted by a human, with humans, and for humans.
It is when we tap into our humanity that we can truly create solutions to problems and empower our focus audience to reach their goals. Being creative requires vulnerability.
It’s easy to become addicted to all the business buzzwords out there, but if you want to really be successful in business, your focus needs not be on how smart you’re going to sound or how well something is going to read, or for those of us in the digital marketing world, how good this is for SEO. Your focus must be on building relationships!
My mentor and friend, the late Jay Conrad Levinson, known worldwide as The Father of Guerrilla Marketing, wrote a list called “The Most Important Words In Business,” a few decades ago that confirmed this for me.
Jay traveled the world teaching his unconventional marketing tactics and inspiring marketers around the world because he was relationship-focused.
The Most Important Words In Business
The six most important words in business: “I admit that I was wrong.”
The five most important words in business: “You did a great job.“
The four most important words in business: “What do you think?”
The three most important words in business: “Could you please…“
The two most important words in business: “Thank you.”
The one most important word in business: “We.”
Jay’s contribution to business is immeasurable, timeless, and highly effective.
When I look at this list, I can’t help but think that these words work in any setting and they may as well be simply the most important words in any situation! Why do you think that is?
I’ll go back to my theory that we must humanize our business approach. We need to add kindness, understanding, and vulnerability to our interactions with others, and stop talking like an institution or a search engine robot.
One of my favorite quotes is “People don’t care how much you know until you know how much you care.”
As a mompreneur mentor, coach, and trainer, I’m always encouraging moms to learn how to brand, position, and market themselves as thought leaders in their field of expertise, but I only work with those who seek an outcome of joy, meaning, and freedom, not only for themselves, but for the people they want to genuinely serve.
Mary Kay Ash once said that everyone carries with an invisible sign on their forehead that reads “make me feel important.” It’s not about dishing out flattering compliments that sound empty and lack meaning: “You’re so smart!” “You’re a genius” “You’re pretty” (my least favorite!).
It’s about offering heartfelt appreciation, helping others feel valued, heard, and respected. This works both at home and at work, whether you are transitioning from a corporate job or have a team of your own, and especially online as you write for human beings who are making decisions based on how your content makes them feel.
A lot of bloggers, influencers and content creators work really hard at ranking for SEO keywords by working on their On-Page SEO, but forget the power of Off-Page SEO, which is all about what others say about a website or blog post. People need to FEEL something in order to backlink, comment or share!
How do we foster a culture of gratitude and recognition in our business or our homes?
Set aside time each day to catch someone doing something right and acknowledge it by saying exactly what they did, exactly why what they did is important/useful/helpful, and exactly how that makes you feel.
Put your feelings in writing... especially in your handwriting! Receiving a written comment, an e-mail, or a hand-written letter or card will never get old. It adds so a bit of extra meaning because of the extra effort it takes.
Praise in public and be strategic and specific with your praise. This one is the biggest. When you praise someone only in a private setting or a private message, sometimes it can feel like the compliment is not truthful, and it’s all about what the receiver feels!
I’m going to add to Jay’s amazing list by saying what I think are “the seven most important words in business”: You tell me, what would you do?
One of the most admirable qualities in people I consider “the great ones” and that I strive to emulate is humility. I don’t know about you, but I am certain that I don’t have all the answers… I don’t even have most of the answers!
Many people don’t achieve their goals, master a skill, or follow their passion simply because they fail to ask for help. The fear of rejection, “looking stupid,” or appearing to be “lost” or “weak” stops them in their tracks and keeps them stuck, and sadly, they are not able to grow and achieve their true potential.
In my experience, true success comes when you are surrounded with outstanding teams or individuals, and you are willing to accept that they have gifts you don’t have and embrace them with joy.
I have learned to receive feedback gracefully and use it to continually improve in business — and life. I tell my daughters I love finding out I’m wrong because it gives me an opportunity to be right.
It takes effort toward self-mastery since our instinct is to compare, compete, criticize, complain, and condemn, but those don’t make anyone happy (and I think we’ve all figured out that you are less productive when you are unhappy).
To sum it all up, the most important words in business are those who show gratitude, validation, and respect, and demonstrate that even though you know and own your gifts, you value the gifts of others.
What are the most important words in YOUR business? Share how you make your business more HUMAN and speak life in your home in the comments below.