I sipped my coffee and powered through the final paragraphs of the email at my iMac.
My fingers flew across the keyboard, my teeth chewing my lips as I hammered out the words I had longed to say.
This was the nail in the coffin; the definitive last word in working with a client who had, time and time again, caused havoc and issue after issue with the agency I worked for at the time.
So here I was, my keyboard on fire as I tapped out my frustrations in a stinging e-battle from which there would be no return.
I hit send.
It was done.
And it didn’t feel good.
I had dealt with the situation, but the energy around it was all wrong.
I had let boundaries be overstepped, I had let emotions rule, and I didn’t deal with the email encounter with grace.
But you know what? We learn along the way and each interaction becomes stronger.
The way we communicate can invite grace and respect, it can evoke admiration and loyalty, it can inspire, motivate, endear and bring positivity.
Or, it can be destructive.
Powering up your language has far reaching effects. Saying no can either cause a rift, or command respect. Establishing boundaries can build your business or break your spirit.
How I emailed that client, that time (many years ago!), is a far cry from how I would communicate now. I am far from perfect – who isn’t – but I have learned so much more about the power of language since that day.
Powering Up Your Language
Brainchild of Tami Reiss, CEO of technology company Cyrus Innovations, the app was inspired by the fabulous Amy Schumer – pause here for appreciation and applause – and a sketch about a panel of female scientists who can’t stop saying sorry until one of them apologises herself to death (ring a bell, anyone?!)
As Reiss tells The Independant, “This idea of successful, entrepreneurial women who don’t even realise how often they’re saying sorry and undermining their own ideas really struck a chord with me,” “I just wanted to create a simple tool to help me and my friends. I’ve been completely overwhelmed by all the attention.”
Acting like a spellchecker for apologies and disempowering language, Just Not Sorry is designed to make us aware of language when communicating, and is part of the Female Founders initiative.
Of course, there are plenty of other in which we communicate, other than via email.
Content creation for personal updates and business updates is prolific and diverse, so how else can we be mindful of the power of language?
Using scripts as a starting point with communication can be a really helpful tool.
Whether it’s a prospective client communication, tricky contract negotiations, remote team working comms or just firing off an email to someone you would LOVE to connect with, scripts can reduce the overwhelm by giving you a framework. Simply by having that starting point done for you, you can find your flow and personalise your content much easier.
I have two much loved and used resources for scripts that I use frequently to get my grey matter kickstarted.
The first is a two separate sets of scripts by the wondrous Alexandra Franzen, who sprinkles fairy dust on mere letters to make them magical.
The second is the most shared link I think I ever send to clients, colleagues, family and friends who have issues with saying that tiny word that packs so much power: “No”. (Raise your hand if you need to learn better no-ness too. Yup.)
With those two free resources alone, your language will already be feeling the power, yo’.
Ok, next up is a piece of work by the doyenne of small biz snark and humour, Ash Ambirge. *cue fan girl music*
Ash’s script set Love, Business Owner* is a byooootifully designed pack of scripts for pretty much every small business situation that you might need to fire an email off for. Think managing your team, client negotiations, quotes, eepy moments, dealing with boundaries and much, much more.
Love, Business Owner is SO helpful in staring down the blank page of your email editor, rolling your comms with power, and just getting stuff DONE (always a good thing).
Next up in my toolkit is the amazing work of my friend Bushra Azhar over on The Persuasion Revolution.
Bushra’s ENTIRE SITE will have your bookmarking and Evernoting left right and centre, as she is all about using language for persuasion (and she teaches it so, SO well, guys).
Bushra also recently created a script for non-paying clients, something I know is a problem for a lot of micro biz owners. This is the link to the script in her Facebook group (you will want to join it, believe me).
Using Shortcuts For Powerful Language
Once you have made the leap and sent a message that felt empowered, make it easier for yourself to replicate again.
Indeed, next time someone emails or messages you in a way that evokes a positive reaction from you, save it to Evernote so you can use the format as inspiration next time you need to reach out.
Keep it powerful, and stay brilliant,