Pre-script: I brainstormed for a while for a fun title to this post. I was going to go with Words Count for the word play aspect...but the Search Engine Optimizer in me said no. Cheers!
A few years back I attended a conference. One of the workshops was about productivity and success. The speaker told a story about a young waitress who was struggling to make money. The speaker observed the waitress while she was dining and mentioned to her (I think she was a regular so she wasn't just giving unsolicited advice) that the words she used with her customers could be impacting her tips. Negatively.
This all was really interesting to me. I took a linguistics class during my undergraduate study and since have monitored the connotation and denotation of words. So although the waitress wasn't doing anything wrong, per se, such as using the non-word irregardless, but she could've been doing things better.
When diners asked her for things, she replied with, "No problem!" for each request.
The speaker recommended to the waitress that her words matter and the phrase "no problem" contains two negative words. And people subconsciously hear that and could be put off by her remarks and also her.
She encouraged the waitress to replace the words with, "you got it!" or "I'd be happy to!" and asked her to observe any changes.
A few weeks passed and she dined with the waitress again- her tips were up nearly 20%. Now- maybe the server was just being more aware with her actions and that was cause of the increased income or perhaps her words really mattered to her customers.
I try it at home with my fam and kids. I've read that kids do not respond well to negative statements, only positives. So when I want my kids to do something, I try to tell them the positive behavior I want: "only walking on the pool deck!" "Gentle touches with the cat!" "Listen on the first time!"
Sure, I feel like a tool sometimes but if I say to Maks "don't touch the remote," it's like magic- it's the first thing he'll do: touch the remote.
Another magical phrase that is almost a guarantee, "Don't forget!!!" I've replaced that with, "Please remember!" and it helps me and my fam and subordinates to remember! Is not perfect- but it's better.
I noticed a recent change to the way my husband, the yin to my yang, speaks. I'm an optimist and previously, he's been a glass-is-half-empty AND IT'LL PROBABLY LEAK ALL OVER THE FLOOR BECAUSE OF IT!!!! kind of guy. Last night said to our kids that he would be happy to help them with something. He used to say 'no problem' for everything. I started doing this about six years ago- and now he is too.
One final wordy observation- the impact of people's words can also give insight to how they feel about ther lives. My mom is always 'orchestrating' something. If she's talking about the sale of my grabdmom's house, or all of the paperwork she has to complete for Medicare- sure! Orchestrating works. Lots of moving parts, possibly complicated, looking for harmony. She used that word three times in about ten minutes in reference not only to Grandmom but also packing for a vacation and feeding and walking the dog. Interesting insights- she thinks there are a lot of parts that have to harmonize that work. So much depends on orchestrating.
Maybe I'm nuts. Or maybe this works.