Power up your persuasiveness and overcome their doubts

Sound more credible, competent and convincing by using "power talk." That's the term coined by communication expert George Walther to mean that every word you use creates value for you.

Practice these power talk techniques:

• Use affirmative language. Example: Say, "When we ... " instead of "If we ..."

• Make it clear that you accept responsibility. Example: "I'll help you myself" or "I want to try this."

• Employ win/win phrasing. Example: "Finish this today and we can move on to something more creative."

• Don't use phrases that call your integrity into question. Example: "To be perfectly honest ..." That implies you haven't been honest until now.

• Avoid ineffective intensifiers: "very," "definitely" and "surely." They make you sound less than convincing.

• Drop disclaimers—"I'm not an expert, but ..."—that invite people to disagree with or challenge you.

• Skip hedges and qualifiers, such as "sort of" and "perhaps."

• Don't apologize for situations you lack control over.