The way you speak not only affects how others perceive you; it also has the potential to shape your behavior.
Swapping one word for another could make all the difference in how you approach your goals.
That's according to Bernard Roth, a professor of engineering at Stanford and the academic director of Stanford's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school).
In his new book, "The Achievement Habit," Roth suggests several linguistic tweaks that can make you more successful. Here are two of the easiest:
1. Swap "but" for "and."
You might be tempted to say, "I want to go to the movies, but I have work to do."
Instead, Roth suggests saying, "I want to go to the movies, and I have work to do."
He writes: "When you use the word but, you create a conflict (and sometimes a reason) for yourself that does not really exist." In other words, it's possible to go to the movies as well as do your work — you just need to find a solution.
Meanwhile, when you use the word and, "your brain gets to consider how it can deal with both parts of the sentence," Roth writes. Maybe you'll see a shorter movie; maybe you'll delegate some of your work.
2. Swap "have to" for "want to."
Roth recommends a simple exercise: The next few times you say "I have to" in your mind, change have to want.
"This exercise is very effective in getting people to realize that what they do in their lives — even the things they find unpleasant — are in fact what they have chosen," he says.
For example, one of Roth's students felt he had to take the math courses required for his graduate program, even though he hated them. At some point after completing the exercise, he realized that he really did want to take the classes because the benefit of completing the requirement outweighed the discomfort of sitting through classes he didn't enjoy.
Both of these tweaks are based on a key component of a problem-solving strategy called "design thinking." When you employ this strategy, you try to challenge your automatic thinking and see things as they really are.
And when you experiment with different language, you may realize that a problem isn't as unsolvable as it seems, and that you have more control over your life than you previously believed.
"If you don't, the interviewer will assume you are either insecure, don't have an appropriate answer for the question being asked, or are being deceptive. Does that mean it's true? No, but perception is everything in a job interview."
Reiman said smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy.
"It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener, instructing them to smile back. Without the smile, an individual is often seen as grim or aloof," she explained.
This may give the interviewer the impression that you're bored or uninterested in the conversation. Instead, keep your hands on the desk or table, and don't fidget.
In their book "Crazy Good Interviewing," John B. Molidor, Ph.D., and Barbara Parus suggest showing your palms during an interview — since the gesture indicates sincerity — or pressing the fingertips of your hands together to form a church steeple. which displays confidence, reports Business Insider's Shana Lebowitz.
"People don't realize that the job interview begins in the waiting room, but it does. So don't slouch in the chair in the reception area," she advised. "In order to be perceived as confident, you must sit or stand tall, with your neck elongated, ears and shoulders aligned, and chest slightly protruding."
This position changes the chemicals in our brain to make us feel stronger and more confident, and it gives the outward appearance of credibility, strength, and vitality, she explained.
Playing with your hair, touching your face, or any other kind of fidgeting can be a major distraction for your interviewer. It also demonstrates a lack of power, said Reiman.
This gesture will tell the interviewer you're not comfortable or you're closed off.
"When we touch our faces or hair, it is because we need self soothing,"Reiman explained.
Is that the message you want to send to your interviewer
A weak handshake may tell the interviewer that you're nervous, shy, and that you lack confidence, explains Colin Shaw, CEO of Beyond Philosophy, a customer experience consultancy, in a LinkedIn post.
Ideally, your handshake should be firm, but not overbearing. "The secret to a great handshake is palm-to-palm contact," Wood told Business Insider. You want to slide your hand down into the web of theirs, and make palm-to-palm contact. Lock thumbs, and apply an equal amount of pressure.
"It's okay to use your hands to illustrate a few important points," writes Lebowitz. "In fact, research suggests that staying too still can give the impression of coldness.
"But relying too much on hand gestures can be distracting, according to Molidor and Parus."
She says you should remember you're in a job interview, not a theater audition.
People tend to show their dominating personality by gripping the interviewer's hand and palming it down, but this tells the interviewer that you need to feel powerful, Reiman explained. "Instead, the handshake should be more natural: thumbs in the upward position and two to three pumps up and down."
As the applicant, you should always wait for the interviewer to extend their hand first, she added.