One Word Makes a Difference

Our choice of words on the phone, especially with people we don’t know, are what take a conversation from good to great. In fact my passion for phone communication grew out of my discovery many (many) years ago that my use of the word “just” (as in “I’m just calling) was directly responsible for my lack of success.

I know many of you find this hard to believe – that one word can have such a huge impact – so I was pleased to discover this lesson from another point of view recently – in an article in “O” magazine!

As I write that I can feel some of you rolling your eyes. “Really, Mary Jane,” some of you are thinking. “You read The Oprah Magazine?”

Yup, I do. A dear friend sent me a subscription for my birthday in 2010 and I am now dedicated – although never up to date – I’m currently finishing the July issue. I have discovered excellent journalism, valuable small business profiles and startling inspiration on the pages of this publication. I’m a fan!

The story I want to share with you involves the actor, Bryan Cranston. I am most familiar with him as the father on Malcolm in the Middlebut he is also in a current series called Breaking Bad.

In the article he is talking about how he has evolved as an actor and shares the story of a Grade 5 production of The Time Machine in which he played Professor Flipnoodle who travels through American History. During a Civil War scene the Professor is supposed to say “President Lincoln will finish writing the Gettysburg Address once he returns to the White House.”

Cranston grew up in Southern California and during the ‘50s and ‘60s there was a large department store chain called White Front and, yes, he delivered the line as “President Lincoln will finish writing the Gettysburg Address once he returns to the White Front.”

The audience laughed hysterically; Cranston’s deep love for acting was born and he learned this lesson:

“When I started doing community theater in my early 20s, that fifth-grade experience came flooding back. I remember thinking, “That’s the biggest reaction I’ve ever gotten as an actor, and it all hinged on one word.” It hit me that … a single word can change everything.”

This is one of the many reasons it is important to be fully present when you are using the phone to prospect. Don’t be multi-tasking or allowing your brain to wander towards the weekend. Don’t sort email! Listen to how the words you are using are inspiring or repelling your audience – and make the necessary adjustments!

One last thought:

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

Happy dialing everyone! TPL

Leave a comment

What's The Phone Lady doing?

  • One-on-one coaching with 6 amazing entrepreneurs - info about sales coaching here
  • Designing a sales campaign - that includes phone conversations - for a waste management consulting firm
  • Creating client communication module for college students
  • Delivering remote learning on essential business communication skills for job search
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for vet equipment company
  • Remote learning experience for financial advisors
  • In-person learning experience with new business owners on creating a sales process
  • Remote learning experience on essential skills to reach and inspire conversations with C-suite executives
  • Team coaching for a firm representing natural products for arthritis in dogs
  • Remote learning experience on sales and customer service skills for a transportation company
  • Remote learning experience on both discovery and sales calls for new startups

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.