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The 15 most powerful words

Relationships are everything.

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The ability to bond with another person creates commerce, builds teams and nurtures friendships.

There are fifteen words that help get the job done. I've been sharing these powerful words in motivational talks all over the world.

These 15 words include:

  • A five-word phrase that people love

  • A four-word sound bite that shows you care

  • Three simple words get people to do stuff

  • The two words that mean more than anything you can say to someone

  • The single most important word you can use with another human being

They add up to fifteen! Try to use these word combinations every day.

People want to hear “I am proud of you”

The five most important words you can use to build a relationship are, “I am proud of you.”

If you don’t use these words every day, you're not telling people what they need to hear. “I'm proud of you” is an emotion-based sentiment, that can be challenging for men to articulate. I had to practice saying the phrase many times before it was comfortable.

As the eldest sibling in my family, I have a long history of practicing communication techniques on my brothers.

One day, I called my youngest brother Rob, who then lived out-of-state. “How are you?” I asked. “Good,” he answered. “We finally closed on the house and the kids are doing great in school.”

I said, “I’m impressed, Rob. You’ve moved the family twice in four years and kept all the wheels on the wagon. I’m proud of you.”

There was a slight pause as Rob wondered if this was a prank call. “Thanks,” he eventually said.

We lived 1,500 miles away at the time of that conversation, but my brother psychologically moved closer to me that day.

“What is your opinion?” shows you care

The four most important words are “What is your opinion?” You can also say, “What do you think?” If you don’t ask people for their opinions, they might think you don’t care.

Leaders, salespeople and others often feel that asking “What do you think?” shows weakness. Not so. Empowering others doesn't have to detract from your power or influence.

Good communicators converse as if they are playing tennis. They hit the ball and then wait for someone to return it. There's no need to follow the ball over the net. Ask for opinions and then listen.

“Will you, please” is still good etiquette

The three most important words are “Will you please?” People frequently substitute the phrase “Do me a favor,” but it's not nearly as effective in building relationships.

Etiquette never goes out of style.

Saying “thank you” says a lot

The simplest way to acknowledge appreciation and honor another person is to look him or her in the eye and say, “thank you.” These two words mean a lot, but society has gotten away from using it.

Customer service representatives often use phrases such as, “Here you go,” “Have a nice day” and “You’re all set." Nothing, however, substitutes for those two elegant words: thank you.

My name is my favorite word

Dale Carnegie, author of the classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, wrote that everyone loves the sound of their own name.

Seems obvious to me, but watch the video below to see how much trouble Kevin had with this concept.

You can maximize the power of persuasion by putting the person’s name in an embedded phrase.

To do this, simply add the person’s name to the front of a sentence. For example, “Can you have this done by Friday, Bob?” is much more powerful than “Can you have this done by Friday?”

Let's keep talking

Use the fifteen most powerful words to build stronger relationships with people at work and at home. You’ll notice an improvement almost instantly.

[Hear Michael in action on his popular, Talk to Me podcast on iTunes, Podbean and other platforms.]


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