The Fundamentals

Power Talk

Linguist and management consultant Sarah Myers McGinty, Ph.D., shows how to communicate in many situations using just two basic styles of talking: language from the center and language from the edge. Language from the center is used to command and to establish authority. It directs, contradicts and even interrupts. Instead of asking questions, it makes statements. You use language from the center to keep a meeting on track, for instance, by responding to an off-topic comment with "That's interesting, but now back to my first point . . . "

Language from the edge is appropriate when you're trying to gather information or respond to questions. It avoids confrontation and qualifies statements. Language from the edge asks, "Are we likely to make any money off this?" rather than stating, "This product is a loser."

Myers McGinty also shows how to tell whether you communicate from the center or the edge and how to mix and match the two styles to attract new clients, correct employees and run meetings. Power Talk is worth a listen.

Power Talk is available at

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This article was originally published in the May 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Fundamentals.

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