I find that the choice of words we make in our day-to-day conversations has such a powerful influence. Not only in shaping the tone of our communications and the way the message comes across, but also in making our interlocutor agree or disagree with what we are saying.
Have you noticed that when you use the right word(s), the person you are conversing with ends up repeating them in their response to you? This signals that they approve of what you are saying and what’s more, that they embrace your point of view. That’s how strong but subtle the influence of the right words is in a conversation.
What’s interesting to me is that even though they have the same meaning, some words can come across as harsh or out-of-place, whereas their synonyms can have the opposite effect. Therefore, by carefully choosing the right words to use in your most important conversations, you have a higher chance of influencing the outcome of the conversation and the way you are perceived. What’s more, used frequently, the right words and phrases can shape up your personal brand. You can become that soft-spoken, charming person.
Here are my favourite words and phrases, which have really helped me to enhance the way i communicate and approach people:
1. I appreciate
This is a powerful phrase, elegant and empathetic at the same time that can be conducive to multiple meanings: “I understand” (i.e. when completed by “what you’re saying / where you’re coming from”), “I sympathise with you”, “I value what you are saying”. You can also use it to influence your interlocutor to share your point of view, by starting your argument with “As you can appreciate…” What’s more, it can be used to softly introduce a negative connotation: “I appreciate what you’re saying…, but”
2. I value
Used both as a noun and as a verb, you can use this conveys your deep seeded appreciation for something. Saying “I value you / our friendship / something” has a deep connotation as it appropriates one’s feelings to an unspecified and thus limitless value.
3. I treasure
This is not very commonly used, but I think it should be and I, for sure, wil be making a more conscious effort to incorporate it into my daily vocabulary. Mre than “value”, “Treasure” adds a deeper sense of appreciation and personal worship, as the pure sense of the word treasure leads one to think of something rare, hard to find and therefore truly valuable.
4. Deep / depth
To me, this word conveys an immersion into something: “deep work”, “dive deep”. I love using expressions such as “adds depth”, or go deeper into something, as it conveys a sense of focus and dedication.
When I hear this word, I think of something so captivating, in which one's mind and sense sink in. “An immersive experience” is a true reflection of how the word “immersive” has the power to transform the way in which you experience something.
Up there with “immersive” for me is the word “sensorial”. Anything that has the power to stimulate the senses to the point where it is perceived as “sensorial”, is something quite powerful, as, after all, the senses are the key to appealing to someone and also to understanding the world around us.
This is a very powerful word that carries so much weight and meaning that can be used on its own. “Interesting!” said a reply email I got from one of my role models and it was enough to get my heart pumping away. Of course, used in colloquial conversation (“That’s (so) interesting” or “I found that quite interesting”), this word can transform the blandest reply into a truly menaningful one. Take it further, by starting your counter argument with “Interesting you say that” and no one will want to argue with you. It’s that powerful.
This word is so rich that it encapsulates the idea of “being blown away”, of having your mind taken to different heights. Saying “it’s facinating” or “I found that fascinating” conveys that your mind was taken to that sweet spot where the incredible was revealed in full force.
I like to use this word in sentences like “That’s (so / quite) admiable”, because I think that we generaly tend to not express our appreciation enough. So, this word for me creates the perfect opportunity to think about how much I like something or someone.
I use “perceive” a lot, because I think it’s a more elegant way of saying “comes across” or “seen as”. "Perceive" makes me think of the eyes of the mind, somewhere where a deep opinion of something gets formed.
11. “Inspire” / inspirational”
It’s a wonderful compliment to tell someone: “I feel inspired by you / your ideas” or “I find you inspirational”.
12. “Thought process”
This is more powerful that simply saying “I think”, as it makes the word “process” make the interlocutor think see your idea or decision more than a simple spur-of-the-moment thought and instead visualise your chain of thoughts and the development of your viewpoints. Saying “my thought process is…” carries far more intellectual weight than “I think”.
13. “Mental model”
Similar to “thought process”, this phrase signifies the framework summarising how your thoughts come into being. “My mental model” paints a far more vivid picture of your decision-making process or worldview than saying “The way I see it” or “My view is that”.
When used in a conversation, it will lead your interlocutor to think of mental structures, ways of thinking and the organisation of your thoughts.
15. “Infused with meaning”
This expression is quite artistic suitable for, but I think we should adopt it into our colloquial language. It just paints such a vivid picture of how meaningful something is.
Used outside of its innate clothes-related meaning, for example in expressions such as “an elegant presentation”, “an elegant approach”, “an elegant structure”, this adjective makes one associate the sophisticated matching of clothes (which tends to be the main meaning of this word) with the
I find that this is a more poetic way of saying “to transmit”. To me, it embellishes the idea or the sentence one is describing with a deeper sense of meaning. Somehow, the use of “convey” reverberates with emotion, as it subtly transports the mind into that particular situation, it leads the thought to that particular experience and the heart to that feeling.
18. “Adds colour”
Colour is a visual stimulant and many people love it, so, introducing this into any sort of description of account of events, can really transform a blant sentence into an enticing [add word].
19. “Paints a vivid picture”
More powerful than the previous, this one adds an artistic and colourful portrayal of
Used figuratively, this can word is effective in painting a vivid picture of what you are saying and capturing the interest of your interlocutor. Particularly effective in corporate narrative, phrases like “the story is”, add depth and meaning to facts and figures. Storytelling is influential, hence why this has become such an impactful corporate buzzword in today’s business world.
21. Your interlocutor’s name
This is subtly very powerful in building rapport and I think we should all make a conscious effort to use it more often in daily conversations, even when you speak with only one person.
In phrases like “I’d love to do that” or “I love the sound of that”, it conveys passion and enthusiasm for an idea, a heat-felt willingness to get involved in something.
To me, this words brings excitement and a sense of freshness. It signifies the beginning of something new, the a act of bringing to life or putting in motion a project, an idea or even initiating someone in a new role (i.e. “launch plan for a new starter”).
I think this is such a “fair”, balanced word. I love hearing it in expressions like “I don’t think that’s fair” or “that’s fair” as it’s softens up the act of challenging an opinion or the introduction of a counter argument / negative point that might otherwise come across as argumentative.
25. “I'm sorry”
One might think that this widely used expression might have lost its meaning by now and therefore cease to make an impact. However, far from it. I find that people still acknowledge the meaning of “I’m sorry” very seriously when they hear it and they perceive it as strongly as hearing “I apologise” even though the latter is less frequently used and therefore should carry a deeper weight. I find it's particularly helpful to say "Sorry I missed your call" when returning a call. To me, this is a very touching ice-breaker to a phone conversation, that might not get intimate at all, because of the remoteness of the interlocutors.
Used wisely, words are your allies and they can help you create rapport even with people you have never spoken to.