The Power of Words: 3 Ways to Build Others Up

Words are powerful. They can be a force for bad or a force for good. Words can tear down or build up. We see the damage that words do every day in the political arena, from both sides of the aisle. The world is full of downers, naysayers and mean-spirited criticizers.
Set yourself apart from all that nonsense. Resolve to use your words as a force for good in the lives of those you interact with every day. Decide that you are going to be a person who builds others up.

“Great people are those who can make other people feel,
they too, can become great.”

– Mark Twain

Here are 3 simple, but powerful, ways you can build others up.



Appreciation is simply expressing gratitude to someone. Decide to be the kind of person who consistently expresses gratitude – to your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, even your restaurant server.
If you are a leader, in order to be effective, you must be good at expressing appreciation. With the economy being so strong, companies are desperately fighting to retain employees. One of the simplest and most effective ways to get employees to stay is to let them know how much you appreciate them.
Keep in mind there is a difference between felt gratitude and expressed gratitude. We are often grateful to others but fail to express it. Unexpressed gratitude is interpreted by the other as ingratitude.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a gift and never giving it.”

-William Ward

Are you good at expressing gratitude? When was the last time you told someone how much you appreciated them? Have you written a thank you note to someone lately?


Affirmation is simply telling someone what they are good at. We are all born on the wrong side of our eyeballs, so we don’t often see what we are naturally good at. Help others see the areas of giftedness.
Affirmation looks like this:

  • You have a natural way of inspiring others.
  • You are a great communicator. You have a way of organizing and simplifying ideas so they are easy to understand.
  • Your attention to detail is exceptional.
  • Your creativity and eye for design is outstanding. You are really gifted at that.

Whether a parent, teacher, or leader, one of the most important things you can do is help others see their how God has uniquely gifted them.
Many years ago, I had a boss who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. She put me in a position to play to my strengths and it literally changed my life. I went from having a J.O.B. to having a vocation.
When was the last time you revealed to someone their strengths? When have you said “wow, you are really gifted in that area.”?


While appreciation and affirmation focus on the past, encouragement focuses on the future. Appreciation and affirmation say, “you did it”  while encouragement says, “you can do it!”
The word encouragement literally means ‘to give courage.’
Most people have goals and dreams but are also entangled with self-doubt. A lot of people think they are out of their league when they are not. Give people the gift of confidence. Help others believe in themselves. The truth is very few of us live even close to our potential. When you encourage someone, you help them move closer to their potential.
I am not suggesting you become an insincere back-slapper. I am encouraging you to decide each morning that you will look for opportunities that day to use three powerful, positive weapons: appreciation, affirmation and encouragement.

Building another up takes so little time and effort on our part and could be literally life changing to the other person. Decide now to be a person who speaks life into others.

It’s ironic, but this is how life works, as you build others up – your own life becomes more meaningful and rewarding.

Let’s call that a win-win.