For Impact


Change Your Vocabulary

Daily Nuggets | | Tom Suddes


Jim Collins says,

“We need a NEW LANGUAGE. The critical distinction is not between business and social, but between GREAT and GOOD. (We need to) jointly embrace a LANGUAGE OF GREATNESS.”



I believe that if you CHANGE the way you TALK…

you can CHANGE the way you ACT!


It’s not just a personal belief: there is compelling science around the psychology of CHANGE that includes tremendous work on this whole idea of NEUROLINGUISTICS and how we FRAME things. Pioneering researchers on cognitive science and linguistics have pointed to the paramount importance of something called ‘FRAMING’.

George Lakoff, Professor at University of California Berkeley, defines ‘FRAMES’ as the mental structures that shape the way we see the world. He says that ‘FRAMES’ are part of our “cognitive unconscious;” but the way that we know our current frames or new frames springs from LANGUAGE.

I want to strongly encourage you to CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY. CHANGE the way you TALK …To dramatically CHANGE the way you ACT.

My hope is that the following OLD WORDS/NEW WORDS will help you ‘TALK THE WALK’… to make it easier to ‘WALK THE TALK!

A simple suggestion:

Like any new language, the fastest way to make progress is total immersion! Try as hard as you can to STOP talking about non profits, charity, survival, competing, donors, donations, etc.

Use your new VOCABULARY with your Board and your team and it will become the lingua franca, which is a “hybrid language serving as a COMMON LANGUAGE between different people”. I strongly believe you can create a COMMON LANGUAGE for your entire ‘team’ including staff, volunteers, and investors.

Special, Special Note: This is NOT some kind of ‘SEMANTIC GYMNASTICS’. It means to literally immerse yourself in a new LANGUAGE, a new LEXICON, a new LINGO.

P.S. Part of this is trying to get you to stop using all the typical industry jargon and start using SALES TERMS. BUSINESS TERMS. COMMON SENSE TERMS. IMPACT TERMS.