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How to Use Power Phrases to Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, and Get What You Want by Meryl Runion

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Short book with basic message to facilitate using power phrases:

A power phrase is made up of six components and is “a short, specific, targeted expression that says what you mean and means what you say, without being mean when you say it.”

Speak clearly and hold true to your values. What you say should aim to enable the outcome you desire; not simply be a way of venting you emotions.

Avoid poisonous phrases; these tend to be derogatory or tend to include absolutes such as never / always. Instead try to be specific when speaking, try not to phrase things negatively a don’t ask for permission for something that doesn’t require permission.

Power phrases and not meant to be manipulative these are genuine phrases not insidious questions. Be assertive to counteract meanness. Remember proving you to be right isn’t your objective, it’s actually getting what you want. Express your anger when necessary by saying what you intend to in a planned way and do this with the outcome in mind, if not you may just induce defensiveness and make a difficult situation harder.

Avoid becoming angry, if you have belief in what you say the first time you may avoid becoming angry, some people say things repeatedly and then only get action when they become angry. If you don’t have power in a situation phrase your responses accordingly outline how you feel and ask if there is an alternative way rather than getting angry.

What outcome do I want from this conversation?

What words are most likely to get me those results?

Pick your battles. Ask yourself if the issue really matters

Thinking about how the book is written few points to note if you are planning to replicate this. Firstly it promotes the author’s mailing list and secondly it then generates content from questions and answers from emails from her subscribes. Quite an easy way to generate unreferenced dubious content such as:

“Differences in the way men and women


Here are four:

1. Men speak more in public settings while women speak more in social settings.

2. Men are more literal while women use more generalizations.

3. Men speak on a more factual and objective level while women speak on a more personal and subjective level.

4. Men build bonds by challenging each other, women build them by finding similarities.”

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