4 Magic Words to Improve Conversations

By Alex McClafferty

Choose your words wisely and you can save time, improve relationships and spark creativity.

Words are powerful, but often misused.

In this post, I’ll share four words to help you rapidly improve your conversations.


The word specifically is kryptonite to jargon, buzzwords, and loose language.

You’re time-poor. Instead of dreading the next meeting that has no agenda, ask the organizer what specifically will be achieved from the discussion.

You can also use specifically to give feedback, challenge ambiguous statements, and drill down into the cause of a disagreement.


We’re wired to please people and default to yes instead of no.

Let’s say someone offers you an exciting opportunity, but you know in your heart that it’s not an ideal fit or the timing is wrong. Trust your instinct and be upfront by saying no, and then give a brief explanation of why it doesn’t work now and express your gratitude for the opportunity.

If you want to introduce no to your quiver and uncover the psychology of the word, read this introductory post by James Altucher–he wrote an entire book on the subject.

“What if…”

Kim Nicol, an attorney turned meditation and mindfulness coach, introduced me to this simple framework.

For example:

  • What if… I could find an investor for my startup?
  • What if… I could offer the best service in the world?
  • What if… I could believe in myself and take this idea all the way?

This phrase is great when you’re working through the “figuring it out” stage that we all find ourselves in.

This entry was posted in CMCA by CMCA ~ The Essential Credential. Bookmark the permalink.

About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy: https://www.camicb.org/privacy-policy

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