CONTACT Mod 2 Part 6 - 8 Words and Phrases NOT to USE


Hi everybody,

This part of CONTACT Out Yourself Wisely, is about what Words NOT to USE, so you keep people engaged and moving towards solutions, especially when the conversation is sensitive or intense.

There are 8 words and phrases NOT to USE. They can put people on the defensive easily, and block effective communicating especially when the outcome and emotional stakes are high.

They can be unhealthy to you personally too. When we use these 8 words/phrases in our communications with self, our self-talk, they can deflate us, diminish our self esteem, invoke fear, or lack of confidence. Do you want to use words that make you and others feel anxious, deflated, embarrassed and angry?

Or words that make you and others feel safe, comfortable, confident and like you and they matter?   

Do you want to spread and grow negative emotions with your word choice or positive feelings?

If you want to be a good communicator and leader you’ll have to grow positive feelings in others, and to do that, you’ll have to be good at word choice. You’ll have to be sensitive to the words that trigger negative emotions. Here’s a list of 8 specific words and phrases to avoid most of the time.

I’ll list them, then I’ll give you an explanation as to why they are unhealthy. After that I’ll share replacement options so you can use your power to choose wisely. 

Avoid these words:


Need to

Have to





No one.

Why these words? Because ‘Should’ invokes things like guilt, shame, lack of self esteem and deflates confidence. ‘Need To’ takes away peoples power to choose and invokes defensiveness. ‘Have To’ does the same thing.

‘Never’ can make people feel segregated, not included and invokes things like annoyance, indifference and often puts them on the defensive. ‘Always’ does the same thing. So does ‘Everyone’ and ‘All’ and ‘No-one’

Which words do we use then? The following replacement words have a higher chance of keeping people engaged and keeping the interaction flowing smoothly.

Should — replace it with could.

Should is a guilt and fear motivator. It makes people feel critical of one self and often puts them on the defensive. Could is an options and choice opener and people like to feel the freedom of choice. Do you like your freedom of choice?

Think about it. Which would you like to hear? You should eat more healthy.  or You could eat more healthy.

Using the word ‘Could‘ instead of ‘Should’, is a gentle way of saying you have, or had, other options that might work out better. The truth is, life offers choices in almost every aspect. We have choice.

When I was Building my cellular phone business, I took a one year successful habits program from Les Hewitt. Author of the Power of Focus. He said we can all think of 10 options for almost any situation. Many might be ridiculous, but they are still options.

He gave the example of “if one breaks a leg, you have many options. 1. Do nothing and let it heal wacked out. 2. Call an ambulance. 3. Call friend and get them to take you to the hospital. .4. Drag yourself to the hospital on one leg. 5. Get a friend to find a piece of lumber and set it and tape it for you. He went on with 5 other crazy options. 

The point is People Have choice and they love to exercise it.  There’s freedom in being able to choose. Do you like to feel freedom and like you have choice in your life? Of course.  We love our freedom of choice, most of the time.

The word Should can give us the perception that choices are nonexistent or very limited. ‘Should’ can back people into a corner so that they feel threatened and like they have to fight their way out which isn’t good for healthy communications, especially in sensitive or crucial situations. .

Using the word could as a replacement any time you think of it will help you build a healthy habit of using could. I use ‘could’ most often and no one notices the specific difference.

What I notice though, is that people feel more engaged with me than they do with others. People are open and ask more questions. Even strangers will share intimate details of their life with me very quickly in a conversation because I’m very selective in my word choice.

When I use could, I often list the consequences I can think of with each choice, What I find is that people feel engaged and think outside the box more. If you want to be a great communicator and leader build the habit of using the word COULD instead of Should.

Use could in your self-talk too. We all have cultural should’s in our self talk and mind. Those old way shoulds can often hold us back and aren’t always right. Be mindful of your family and cultural shoulds. Ask yourself, Are they healthy for you and your way of thinking?

Using Could in your self-talk allows you the freedom to be you. To live in new and better ways. Self talk is a great place to practice changing the word choice habit from Should to Could. Using could in your self-talk is gentler on you, keeps your self esteem intact, and your individualism free.

Would you rather hear ‘You Should do…’ or ‘You could do…’ ‘You should have…’ or ‘You could have…’? Use ‘could’ with yourself and others. It’s gentler on you and others, makes you a better leader, and easier to influence others in any Situation.

There are times when Should is okay to use, like when training someone the easiest and best way to do a new task. If you’re using ‘could’ in that situation, remember to share consequences of the different options.

Let’s go on to the next 2 phrases not to use. They are  Need to and Have to — replace either with could or, put them in a question. People don’t really ‘have to’ or ‘need to’ do anything. I might think they need to or have to, but reality is people have choice and they might not care about a consequence that I care about.

Again, I ask you, Would you rather hear “you need to be more positive’ or ‘You could be more positive’, or I could put it in a question, ‘do you think you Need to be more positive?’

I want to remind you there are times when should, need to or have to are appropriate. If I’m training someone how to fill up a diesel engine with fuel, I’m going to say you have to put diesel fuel in this engine. If you use regular gas you will blow up the engine.

In most situations though, Need to and Have to are not necessary and if you use them you take a risk of putting people on the defensive. Using need to and have to can put up a road block in the conversation, especially when it’s a high stake, intense or sensitive situation.

You might use a questioning technique with these words and ask them if they think they need to or have to and why. Try this; do you really think you need to…? Why? My experience is that if you do it this other way things go smoother.

Using questions ‘with Need to’ or ‘Have to’ often opens up the conversation. Using could instead of need to or have to, will also keep both people feeling free, included and open to choice.

The next 5 words not to use go together in my explanation of how they block effective communications. Never, Always, Everyone, All and No-one are absolute type  words. They  promote an unrealistic scenario. In fact when we use these words we are mostly lying. 

The reality is just because everyone you know, might think or feel, or do things one way, doesn’t mean everyone does or no-one does. There are over 7 billion people on the planet. Most people have others around them that think or feel or do, like they do, even if you don’t think so or think its right.

Do you like to lye or be seen as a liar? Do you like liars? Most of us don’t like liars or like to lie ourselves. Saying everyone thinks like me or no one thinks like you, is most often a lie.

I haven’t witnessed a way of doing things, or a thought pattern, or belief system, that is common to every person on this planet. Have you? Saying everyone, all, no-one is very rarely accurate and true.

Do you want to be accurate and true in your conversations? When you are, you are a better communicator. Stop using absolute type words.

Using Never and Always in statements make them inaccurate most often. It’s very rare that never and always are true. 

Here’s an example. You never clean up after yourself. Even if the person cleaned up after themselves only once in the past year, it makes my statement a lie. And the person I’m saying it to will remember the one time in the last year they cleaned up after themselves, and often focus on that.

So making statements like, ‘You never clean up after yourself, or you always do things wrong, makes me a liar and can easily reduce respect others feel for me. Do you like to feel respected? I do.

Using never, always, no-one, everyone, or all will often reduce your and my credibility in the other persons mind and can roadblock a sensitive conversation easily.

Use these words instead.

Never — replace with rarely.

Always— replace with usually or often or most often.

Everyone and All— replace with most, many or some.

No-one— replace with few, very few or some.

When you use rarely, usually, often, most, many, few, some, you are more accurate and authentic in your statements, and you have a much higher chance of keeping people engaged.

Build the habit of using these gentler words, and when an intense conversation triggers, your habit of using gentle words will benefit you.

When two people agree on a concept, using words like always and everyone don’t affect the interaction negatively because both parties agree.

But when two people are in conflict or disagreement, and one uses words like always and never, it builds walls, puts people on the defensive, and prevents effective communication.

In effective communication I want to be truthful, accurate, authentic and gentle in my word choice? Do you? Here’s the recap.

Replace Never with rarely.

Always with usually or often or most often.

Everyone and All with most, many or some.

No-one with few, very few or some.

Replace Should, Need to or Have to with the word Could, or put them in a question.

Practice using these gentle and non-absolute words with others, and in your self-talk too. When you practice using gentle words with yourself and others you will be seen as a more positive and realistic person. Usually, often, most, many, some, few, very few, could.

You will be seen as a better communicator and leader because when intense or conflict situations arise, your word choice habits will be gentle and accurate because you practiced.

Start now. Practice your effective, accurate and gentle word choice. Go out and make it an awesome day. Thanks for watching. Like this video if you like it. Bye for now. See you next time.

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