On my way home tonight, I stopped in a CVS store. As I was waiting in line the cashier called out to the person in front of me. It sounded like "Next guest, please." I wasn't sure I heard correctly. Then he looked at me and said very clearly, "Next guest, please." Wow!I immediately told him how nice it was to be called a guest. He replied, "That's what you are." I explained that it was the first time I had been called a guest in a store. He said, "I hope all of my people would say that". It turned out that he was the manager. I told him I had never had that experience anywhere except in a hotel.
There were two things that struck me. First, the manager was working the cash register. That action sent a message that customers come before job titles.
Secondly, his use of the word "guest" created a different experience. If the customer is a guest, then the cashiers are hosts. If they are hosts, they are there to welcome us and give us an experience, as opposed to conducting a transaction.
The entire interchange took three minutes. Yet that one manager created a pleasant experience by just using one word-guest.
What are the words that you use with your audience? your direct reports? your customers? Words are powerful. Words have the power to transform.
The trend in speaking has moved beyond conveying content to creating an experience. You don't have to be entertaining or funny to create an experience. Simply change your words.