Back at the beginning of my career, I sold software for Computer Associates. I had an old-school manager who was nearing retirement when I joined his team.

He was one of those sales guys who was full of stories and pearls of sales wisdom. He talked about how he became known for his signature “Top of the morning to ya” greeting with his clients. He was unforgettable.

One of my favorite pearls he passed on to me to help me improve both as a communicator and a salesperson was what he called GREEN WORDS.

Try This

Right now, find 3 people near you and ask them to say the first thing that comes into their head when you say the word, GREEN.

You will get a variety of responses like grass, envy, money, color or even frog 🐸.

That is the point.

When you are communicating a thought or idea to your team, supervisor, business leaders or clients often what we think we are saying and what is being comprehended are two different things.

I’ve seen this happen more than once in an interview. I recommend that you answer a question with some detail in under 2 minutes and then let the interviewers know you can go into more detail if they like. This way you have not used up 15 of the precious 30 minutes set aside for the interview responding with information that was not what they really wanted to know. They can redirect you at this point if a GREEN WORD situation has occurred.

Pay attention to the words you are communicating and ask for feedback to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Similarly, if you are in a conversation, watch out for GREEN words.

Don’t make assumptions about what someone is saying.

Look out for words that can have different interpretations.

Ask clarifying questions.

I like to quote my dad and say, “I love green because green things grow”  but in the case of GREEN WORDS all that might grow is confusion and frustration. In this case it is not easy being GREEN.

If you are ready to remove GREEN WORDS from your interviews and get into a new role you love, then sign up for the next round of Get InspiHER’d Job Search Masterclass. It starts on April 7th. Here are the details to sign up.