Language that moves people to take action

Getting clients to take action is one of the most difficult aspects of being a professional advisor or, truly, most businesses. Very few clients are at the point of action and decision making to begin with and so it’s incredibly important to speak to them in a way that is most effective. This, of course, is for your client’s benefit and your own. Any recommendations we make are client centric and it’s in our best interest to see our client’s best interests served. Normally, our stance is language isn’t as important as people often make it out to be, and we stand by that. However, there are occasions where our language choice is critical and we’re going to provide you with some of the language that will actually move people to action.

Now is the moment!

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So what is some language we can use that will help people take action? Let’s dive right into motivational interviewing.

What is motivational interviewing

Motivational interviewing is a counseling method developed by clinical psychologists William R Miller and Stephen Rollnick. It’s a client-centered approach primarily used to help individuals overcome ambivalence or resistance to behavior change. 

Most people aren’t ready to take action and even when they approach the stage of decision making often struggle with conflict and want to avoid doing anything difficult. Motivational interviewing and the language within works to help people reduce internal conflict and overcome discomfort so they’ll take action!

For the purpose of today we need to think of the acronym RULE!

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Resist the righting reflex:

in other words, instead of using language that corrects other people use language that will reframe what someone has said you can understand what they meant or shift the conversation to another topic.

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Understand client motivations:

Use language and ask questions that allow the client to explain their own motivation to change. They are chatting with you for a reason so they must have their reasons!

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Listen with empathy:

Share that you understand your client is going through something. You don’t have to share in the feeling simply acknowledge that they are going through something and you’re doing pretty good here.

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Empower the client:

Client’s will never take action if they don’t feel confident in the ability to take the action. Use language that empowers your clients to have confidence and self-efficacy.

Everything above is built around reflective listening, asking open-ended questions and being empathetic. The best way to get a client to take action is to make sure they feel heard and help them understand with clarity why they need and want to make a change!

How do you help your clients move into a take action stage?

Let us know your thoughts, you can email us at!

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