The Power of Key Words

One of the rabbit holes I ventured down this week led me to a compelling video recommended by Harvard author John Kotter. The video demonstrates the impact of the key words we choose to use. A small shift in language can have a vastly different outcome in the power behind our message.

Build Relationships with Employees and Parents

Key words can maximize interactions between leaders and employees. That has a trickle-down effect on the community that you serve. School leaders can use key words with faculty and staff to get the team on board and reduce anxiety about the work to be done. Teachers can use key words to have richer parent-teacher interactions and build stronger partnerships with their students’ families.

Communicate the Why

Some people may naturally know how to craft a key-worded message, but not everyone has that inherent skill. That’s why starting with a framework is helpful. One way to build your message is to Communicate the Why.

“Are you sending the right message, at the right time, in the right way, to the right audience?”

It’s one of the questions posed by Dr. JoAnn Sternke in her recent article for the AASA Journal. JoAnn advises leaders to begin each message with “the why”. Why are we making a change? Why do we need to meet? By explaining “the why”, we create a better opportunity for “buy in” and improve the impact of our communication.

What do you consider when planning how to design a message?

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