NextGen Know-How: Increasing leadership influence through intentional language

Four strategies for speaking with clarity and confidence

Two months ago, I was on a flight from Washington D.C. to North Carolina to work with a client. Just before takeoff, the pilot announced over the intercom, “Um, so unfortunately, we’re showing a lot of bumps on in the forecast here—there’s bumps all around us. I’m hoping it’s not as bad as what the forecast is showing, but we’re hearing from some other aircraft that it’s a very unpleasant ride. So, ah, unfortunately it’s not going to be a great ride today. So … I’m going to put the seatbelt sign on here for the duration of the flight.”

His words and tone were very tentative and negative, and they didn’t make me feel calm or reassured but rather more anxious and uncomfortable.

He might have confidence and great skill as a pilot (the plane did land safely!), but he didn’t convey that with his language.

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