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Willpower Language


Techniques Willpower > Willpower Language

Necessary | Assumptive | Confident | Specific | Personal | Strong | See also


When imposing your will on other people, using its force to persuade, the language you use is important


Speak about the things that need doing, not things that you would like doing, nor things that could be done. Talk about necessity, not possibility. Say what must be done, not what you want be done.

If you can, give evidence of the need, showing data if possible, or referencing powerful other people who have also said they need what you are requiring.


  • This must be done today.
  • Dana needs your help.
  • It is essential that you give it to me now.


Use assumption in the things you say and do. Act as if the person will do as you wish and they will more likely do so. Act as if things are true and they will likely accept your truth without challenge.

Do not seek permission from them. Start things going as if they already agree. Assume that they agree in your speech, for example 'I'm sure you'll agree that...'.

If you want people to do something, tell rather than sell. Act as if they do not have a choice. Many persuasive situations involve asking the the other person as we assume they have a choice. In imposing willpower, you give them no choice, unless these are stark options where not complying will be painful.


  • This is clearly the right thing for you.
  • I know you'd want it so I've asked Jane already.
  • There's only room on the team for team players.


Show confidence in everything you say. Avoid floppy language that shows uncertainty. Your confidence will inspire their confidence in you.

Be assertive, saying what you want and knowing you have the right to want it. Say no as well, as this shows your confidence and authority.


  • I know what's needed. Just do as I say and you'll be alright.
  • Nobody knows this system like me. I'll do it.


Be clear when you are telling them things. Avoid vague and general statements. When you are telling them what to do, ensure they understand what should be done, when it should be done and how you will know that it will be done. If necessary, tell them how to do it. Also if necessary, spell out the consequences should it not be done (although try not to make this punishing).


  • I want you to take this upstairs now and then bring down the green one.
  • I am going to meet her tonight. I'll call if I need more information. To avoid embarrassment all round, you do need to be available and be able to access the main system.
  • If this is not done today, we won't go out tomorrow.


Talk directly to them and about them, showing that what needs doing is their responsibility and that they are the best person and the right person for the job. Use their name to connect them into the action.

Speak with authority, as if you are in charge and know what you are talking about. Show that you are expert as appropriate. If you want something, make sure this is clear and that it is imperative that you get it.


  • Steve, you know this better than anyone so I want you to complete this work.
  • I've worked with this for years and I have to keep control. You know that, Susan, don't you?


Emphasize key words to give these more power. Emphasis sends a signal for what is particularly important and where attention must be placed.

Use power words that have particular impact, such as 'now', 'you' and 'cost'. Add strength by using assertive or powerful body language. Look the part. The way to do this is to think the part.

Find a tone that works for you in the situations you find yourself. A quiet voice can be very effective, saying 'I am so powerful I don't need to raise my voice'. A penetrating tone will be heard through the chatter of others. A harsh voice has undertones of aggressive threat.

Do not let others interrupt you, just continuing talking if they butt in. Raising the volume of your voice and talking faster can help this. You can also say things like 'I haven't finished' then just keep talking. You may, however, interrupt them.


  • Only you can do it.
  • This must be done, today.

See also

Persuasive Language


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