No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”

~Robin Williams

The most primitive parts of your brain operate at a deeply unconscious level and play a large part in your conscious mind – more than you realize.  Understanding the impact words have on your brain can help you to become better managers, parents, friends, co-workers and negotiators.

The University of Georgia is teaching lawyers how to use words to prepare clients for mediation.  Harvard is studying the effect of using positive words or images, such as those related to rewards, victory, or security, at the start of a negotiation, rather than focusing on the items in dispute. This priming can trigger the production of oxytocin, the neurochemical that helps trigger feelings such as well being, affinity, and security.

How you manage and work through change, conflict and setting expectations might be more effective if you are mindful of the words you choose.  Using words that prime your communications with positive images and emotions will be more beneficial.  Leaders, and their team members would benefit greatly if words are carefully chosen when in performance discussions, conflict situations and change management communications.  Words can trigger a fight-or-flight response and shut down the higher cognitive functions in an individual’s brain. This concept also applies to parenting and how you discuss discipline, conflict, change and expectations with your children/teenagers. 

Equal, if not more important, are the words you say to yourself, be mindful of the effect your own words have on your brain. You may be telling yourself a situation is a “problem” when in effect it is a puzzle you expect to solve.  The better word to use here is “challenge” as it sets up a positive versus negative frame.  The words you choose to describe yourself and your situations can impact your success or failure.

Neuroplasticity is the term used to describe how the brain continues to rewire itself and form new habits. Idle and unused pathways fall away; new ones emerge with repetition and focus. Your focus, attention and in general what you think about rewires your brains.  This can be good or bad, depending on the focus. Research indicates your choice of words has a direct effect on your emotions and your responses.  This effect directly impacts how you respond in situations. This is true whether it is someone else’s words or the self-talk you play in your head.

Words are the vehicle for change and inspiration; they can propel you forward and turn your dreams and vision into reality.  The words you choose to use and/or focus on can impact your effort and accomplishments.

So as 2018 unfolds in front of you….What do you need to move forward?  What do you want to accomplish?  What do you want more of?  What do you want to be able to say at the end of 2018?  And, what will the word(s) be to get you there?

Interested in learning more or working together to accomplish YOUR goals?  You can reach me at