The words we use can have a powerful effect on our own behaviour and the reactions we get from others. Using motivational words can make a huge difference in our lives.

Words really do matter. The language we use shapes the way we see the world and the words we use can affect how others see us. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to make our speech more effective and motivational it just involves knowing the right words to use.

Here are 7 motivational words that you can use to make a powerful impact on yourself and others.

1. ‘Imagine’ helps people understand your perspective

Perhaps the most amazing of all motivational words is “imagine”. The word ‘imagine’ allows us to verbalize our most creative ideas and dreams. If you want someone to understand what you are trying to tell them, ask them to imagine a scenario.

Using the imagination involves various regions of the brain and so can have more impact than words alone. The creative pictures we make in our heads also tend to be more memorable than descriptions.

When you ask someone to imagine something, you also involve them in the process and make them part of what you are trying to achieve.

2. “Could”  boosts creativity when used instead of “should.”

A similar form of magic happens with the word “could,” especially when you substitute it for “should.”

Researchers have found that using the word “could” instead of “should” can make you more creative and happier. Using “should” keeps you stuck in old patterns. “Could” allows you to remain open to possibilities. In addition, when we think about what we should do, it often makes the task seem like a chore. When we use “could”, it makes us feel more in control of our lives.

“Have to” and “choose to” work in a similar way. When we feel like we have to do something, it becomes a burden. If we flip our thinking and think about why we are choosing to do something, it can make us feel more positive about the task.

3. “If” improves performance when describing a hypothetical positive.

In a world of challenging uncertainties, the word “if” can allow us to speak without fear.

Tim David is the author of Magic Words: The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words That Motivate, Engage, and Influence. He suggests that the word “if” can alleviate the pressure of being wrong. It also allows us to be more creative by taking away the need to be right.

Try these examples to improve your creative thinking:

  • What would I say if I did know?
  • What would I do if anything was possible?
  • How would I behave if I wasn’t afraid of failure?
  • How would I interact if I wasn’t afraid of rejection?

4. “Thank you”  makes others more likely to seek a relationship.

Many studies have shown that gratitude makes us happier. But there is also evidence that it can improve our relationships with others. Research shows that thanking a new acquaintance for their help makes them more likely to seek a social relationship with you.

In a study by psychologist Dr. Lisa Williams, 70 students provided advice to a younger student but only some were thanked for their advice. Those who were thanked were more likely to provide their contact details when asked by their mentor.

So if you want to make friends and influence people, mind your manners.

5. “And” helps us explain differing points of view

Liane Davey, author of You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done suggests using the word “and” when you disagree with what someone has to say.

“When you need to disagree with someone, express your contrary opinion as ‘and.’ It’s not necessary for someone else to be wrong for you to be right,” she says.

This is a great thing to try when discussing conflicting ideas. It certainly seems like it would be more effective than the dreaded “but”.

6. “Because” helps people understand our point of view

If you ever need to ask for someone’s help, try explaining why.

Social psychologist Ellen Langer conducted an experiment where she asked to cut in line at a copy machine. She tried three different ways of asking:

  • “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
  • “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
  • “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”

Of those asked, 60 percent let her cut in line using the first request technique. But when she added the “because,” 94 percent and 93 percent, respectively, said OK.

Explaining our reasons helps others to understand our point of view. It also makes us sound reasonable rather than arrogant.

7. Using someone’s name makes them think favorably of you

Just as we often like the sound of our own voice, we also love the sound of our name. In fact, there’s evidence that unique brain patterns happen when we hear our own names, as compared to hearing the names of others.

So, using someone’s name is a simple way to make people more inclined to think favourably of you. If you can remember it of course.

Closing thoughts

Many of us don’t really think about the impact of our words on ourselves and others. But this research shows that little changes in the words we use can make a big difference to our feelings and satisfaction. Choosing the right motivational words can also help us to get what we want more easily.



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