How to choose the right words when things go wrong

How to choose the right words when things go wrong

I’ve been ghostwriting messages for clients for years. One thing I can tell you for certain: They all struggle when it comes to choosing the best way to communicate in difficult situations.

That’s a normal response for most of us. And unfortunately, the higher the stakes, the more likely it is that what we end up saying may fall short of our intended goal.

But writing well under pressure becomes easier when you follow tried-and-true tips such as these:

  • Take out the emotion. Clear your mind and then focus on the key points that need to be addressed in your message. Remember to see things from the reader’s perspective.
  • Don’t text it. Unless it’s your only option, avoid texting as a means of dealing with sensitive situations. A better option: Send a text message to say you’ll respond in detail via an email.
  • Write what your reader wants to hear, not what you want to say. Prioritize the aspects of your message by what is most beneficial to the recipient.
  • Keep it simple. Sometimes the more you try to say, the muddier your message can get. Be clear, concise and avoid burying your point under tons of context. And never resort to vulgarity, even if it’s a word or expression that’s widely used.
  • Resist snark. Sure it seems everyone else does it (even a presidential candidate!), but that doesn’t make it right. Usually resorting to snark only adds fuel to the fire. At its worst, it can do irreparable damage to your reputation.

These are just a few of the word-choice tactics addressed in my virtual study programs. They have served my clients well. And I’m sure they’ll work for you, too. My web-based, self-study programs let you progress at your own pace. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, you’ll soon know how to choose your words to get better results.  

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Melissa DeLayRead all author posts