Communicate powerfully: Stop using weak words

Too many financial advisors use “junk” words with clients and others that negatively impact their effectiveness. If you’re using any of the words or phrases below in your communications with clients, prospects, your team — or anyone — stop saying them.

1. Actually …

“Actually, the reason I’m calling is … I’m actually going to be seeing a client right near you … and actually, I was just thinking …”

“Actually” is a filler word that makes you appear less confident. It can also [actually] come off as condescending when responding to someone about something they heard. If you have an opinion that differs from theirs, own it without the word actually.

2. Just …

“I just want to say … I was just wondering … It will just take a few minutes …”

The word “just” is a minimizer. We use it because we’re afraid to say what we want to say. Just stay away from it.

3. So …

“So, today we’re going to … So, the reason I brought this up …”

“So,” at the start of a sentence, is redundant and is another one of those words that make you appear less confident. Stop using it.

4. Hedges

“It’s just my opinion, but … The way I see it … I may be wrong but …”

It might be scary to say what you think and give your advice. But that’s what your clients are looking for. If you want to attract and keep clients, you need to be more powerful. Stop hedging. Speak your truth. Some people will love you no matter what you say. Some people will hate you no matter what you say. Speak your truth.

5. Precatory language

“I hope you will … You really should … It would be a good idea if …”

Precatory language is a wish or desire that doesn’t rise to the level of a command or request and doesn’t have to be acted upon. If you use this language, you will be disappointed that what you wanted someone to do didn’t get done.

Replace precatory language like “I hope you will sign this as soon as possible …” with more powerful language, such as “I need you to sign this today and get it back to me. Is there any reason you won’t be able to do so? Great, then we’re in agreement.”

Remove every weak word, hedge and precatory request from your interactions to increase your impact — and your bottom line. Get them to agree to whatever it is and you won’t be disappointed.

Say what you think. Being liked for having “wishy-washy” communication is way less important to building your business than being honest and direct.

Sandy Schussel is a performance acceleration coach who has been working with financial advisors for more than 20 years, helping them break through to higher production levels. Watch more from him in “Begin asking for referrals with these questions.”  (MDRT member exclusive)

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