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Avoid the Word “Strive” – Reduces Your Effectiveness

By February 6, 2017January 25th, 2022No Comments
scrabble letters as the font with the title as words to avoid and overlayed on wooden titles, the word strive

When we work with our clients to develop elevator pitches, mission statements, vision statements, and the like, we have them first develop a Better Tomorrow Message™ (BTM). The BTM™ is a short, fewer than 10 words, statement that immediately conveys the benefit of working with/partnering with you and your organization.

During a recent facilitation session to develop a new mission statement for a non-profit client, several of the executive team members encouraged the group to use “strive” in its Better Tomorrow Message™.

The team viewed strive as a word that conveyed, achieving your goal. We politely  pointed out strive is a word that does not mean, you achieve your goals. In reality, you may or may not achieve your goals.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states the definition as “to devote serious effort or energy.” It says nothing about achieving anything. It is therefore, an ambiguous word.

In business, like Yoda from Star Wars aptly said, “Do. Or do not. There is no strive” (he really said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try”).

Strive is a wishy-washy word. Eliminate wishy-washy words such as believe, basically, chiefly, generally, going to, hope, in order to, in other words, in short, possibly, sort of, strive, surely, and usually.

Wishy-washy words reduce your effectiveness when communicating in person, in writing, and online with your stakeholders.


Photography Source:  Original image from DepositPhotos. New creative image © Copyright 2018, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.