One of the most useful seminars I ever attended was about selling. Selling anything – products, services, yourself. The presenter talked about how the language you use can help the listener to feel either positive or negative.
Think of listening to someone talk. If they include a word like “unfortunately”, “but”, “however” or “although” in a sentence it reduces any positive feeling you had from what they had been saying previously. So, “I really enjoyed the new role, however it didn’t last for long since the company failed after three months”. It starts on a high and then brings the listener down.
Read the following sentence: “I tried really hard to solve the problem, but couldn’t solve it”. Another way to put it is “I tried really hard to solve the problem, and couldn’t solve it”. (Ideally at this point you would say what you did then to still have a good outcome.)
Or think of saying: “Unfortunately I didn’t get agreement to the new strategy I suggested”. Instead you could say “I didn’t get agreement to the new strategy I suggested so I …. (set up individual meetings with board members/learnt that next time I needed to listen more carefully/ facilitated sessions with stakeholders to gain their input etc.)
If you turn a negative into a positive by choosing your words carefully, you will keep your listener feeling confident in what you are saying and much more likely to want to “buy” what you are selling – in a job search situation, yourself!