The Right Words at the Right Time

“The wrong words said at the wrong time discourage me.
The wrong words said at the right time frustrate me.
The right words said at the wrong time confuse me.
The right words said at the right time encourage me.”

– John C. Maxwell

Think about these words for a few minutes. Think about the times when a few well chosen words, spoken at just the right moment, helped you to …

  • gain the strength and confidence you needed to accomplish more than you thought possible.
  • take comfort in the love and care of your friends and family to help you recover from a setback or loss.
  • gather the courage to make a major change in your career.

Yes, words have incredible power. And they gain even more power when the right words are said at the right time. And to the right person.

But the wrong words, said at the wrong time… they can be devastating. They can …

  • damage your self-confidence.
  • dampen your enthusiasm.
  • deter you from moving forward in your job or your career … or your life.

The wrong words, said at the wrong time … Why would anyone choose to utter the wrong words – regardless of the time?

You wouldn’t choose to … unless you were malicious, vindictive or intent on inflicting pain. The operative word is choose.

It is your choice. Do you want to lift people up or put them down? Do you want to prepare your word choices – in advance? Or are you content to just say something – and hope for the best?

Think about what you are going to say – long before you ever have the opportunity to say it. Choose your words carefully. Practice saying them – aloud. Practice saying them over and over again – until you have internalized them. So that your words are sincere. So that the words are yours. So that how you speak the right words at the right time makes an impact – on the right person.

Not sure about which words are the right words? Just think about the words that people say to you. How do they make you feel? Be honest with yourself. Which words and phrases lift you up? And why do they do that?

Now, think about those words and phrases that deflate you. Why did they do that? How did they make you feel? What word choices could have been substituted? How would those word choices have made you feel better? Why?

Are you are taking the time to choose your words carefully? If not, why not? Think about the difference a word can make the next time that you deliver a employee performance evaluation. Better still, reflect upon the words your boss used when he or she last reviewed your performance. How did you react? Why? What would you have preferred them to say?

Choice words. Choose yours correctly. You always have a choice. Words do make a difference – over time!

Please take a few minutes to share your experiences with words and phrases. Which words motivated you? Tell us about those words said at the right time. Enter your comments in the space below. Thank you!

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