Public Speaking Skill: Use Empowering Words and Get Powerful Results!

by Allan Kaufman and Allan Misch

Choose Empowering Words

Choose your word usage wisely. The words you use will impact how you feel about yourself, how you are perceived and how you affect others.

Simply by changing your vocabulary—the words you use to describe your experiences and emotions and the emotions that you want your audience to experience—you can rapidly influence how you and your audience will think, feel and act.

If someone calls you a genius, how does that make you feel? How about an angel? How about an S.O.B.?

What’s the difference between being furious, annoyed and a bit-peeved? What about excited, exhilarated, thrilled and energized?

Words Determine Emotional Intensity

The words you use define the intensity of an emotion you’re experiencing. By saying, “I’m destroyed,” you’re implying that something so terrible has happened to you that you’re through, finished, devastated, kaput—there’s no recovering.

If you get a bad performance rating or you just didn’t get the date you wanted, instead of saying, “I’m destroyed.” you’d be much better to say, “I’m set back. I’ve got some things to turn around.” “Destroyed” is way too intense!

Instead of “I’m afraid,” use “I’m uncomfortable.” Instead of “I’m anxious,” use “I’m expectant.”

Instead of “I’m depressed,” use “I’m on the road to a turnaround.” Instead of “I’m disappointed,” use “I’m under-whelmed.”

Instead of “I’m exhausted,” use “I’m recharging.” Instead of “I’m hurt,” use “I’m bothered.” Instead of “I hate this,” use “I prefer that.”

Instead of “I’m energized, use “I’m turbocharged.” Instead of “I’m excited,” use “I’m ecstatic.”

Instead of “I’m fast,” use “I’m ballistic.” Instead of “I’m motivated,” use “I’m compelled.” Instead of saying, “I’m really upset” or “I’m really worried about this,” say “I’m a little bit concerned about something.”

You’re walking down the hall when Fred walks by and asks, “How are you?”

You answer, “Fine.”

Does he really even hear you? How about answering, “Fantastic and getting better every day.” or “Great and getting better.” or “Outstanding and improving.” or “Super and succeeding.” or “Terrific, thanks for asking.” Watch his reaction!

You say to your audience, “By the end of this program, you’ll learn five techniques to grow your business.” What expectation do you create? The expected result is abstract and lukewarm at best.

Instead you could say, “By the end of this program, you’re going to be excited and chomping at the bit, because you’re going to leave here with five powerful, field-tested techniques that will rocket your profits.”

What a difference! The way you word the second statement creates an empowering emotional reaction. It makes your audience feel excited, curious, and motivated to pay attention. These empowering words create an expectation that is HOT, not lukewarm.

Empowering Words Lead to Powerful Results

Words are powerful. James Bryant Conant, former Harvard University president and ambassador to Germany, said, “Some of mankind’s most terrible misdeeds have been committed under the spell of certain magic words or phrases.”

So choose your words carefully and wisely. Use empowering words and you’ll get powerful results.


©Allan Kaufman and Allan Misch, 2002-2013. All rights reserved. The authors give permission to reproduce this article; disseminate it; publish it in print, electronic form and on a website as long as it is not edited and carries the byline and contact information.

Allan and Allan help business professionals reduce or eliminate public speaking fear, performance anxiety, stage fright, and other performance blocks rapidly and enhance presentation skills. They offer 4 valuable, complimentary videos on “10 Critical Strategies to Make Your Presentation Slides More Memorable” and public speaking tips in their complimentary No Sweat Speaking™ newsletter. Get it at

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