7 Marks of Engaging Language

There are no casual words, when it comes to leadership.

Every word delivers results. Determine desired results before opening your mouth.


  1. Build or destroy.
  2. Energize or anesthetize.
  3. Push forward or hold back.

energized eyes

Evil words:

  1. Smooth talking.
  2. Slippery language.
  3. False compliments.
  4. Hidden agendas.

Manipulators hide what they really want behind slippery talk.

Protect yourself from manipulators. Avoid them, if possible.

Ask manipulators what they want and when they’re done talking, you still aren’t sure.

Ethical leaders don’t manipulate, they engage.

Engaging words:

Connections built on slippery-talk fall apart with time.

Engaging language is:

  1. Clear. Lousy leaders confuse. Wise leaders clarify.
  2. Meaningful. Disengaging words may be clear, but they lack meaning.
  3. Actionable. Evaluate words by the actions they inspire. The rest is gobbledygook.
  4. Relevant. Invite others to see themselves in your words. Ask yourself, what are their issues, for example.
  5. Open. Everyone disengages, if you always know what’s best.
  6. Useful. Engaging words make life better for others.
  7. Inclusive. People stop caring when it’s all about you.

You know you’re engaging when others feel energized.

4 ways to evaluate leader-talk:

Only others can tell you what you said.

  1. What did you hear me saying?
  2. What was confusing?
  3. How did I make you feel as I was talking?
  4. What do you want to do, now that I’m done talking?

What words enhance engagement? Diminish it?

How can leaders evaluate their use of language?