Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?

Do you consider the glass half full or the glass half empty. How do you approach the world around you? Positive thinking, positive speaking and positive writing?

This has been a challenging blog post to write because I really want to be clear I’m not asking you to pretend to love everything. That behaviour is unhelpful… and slightly annoying.

Let’s discuss workplace communication

Great leaders know that giving people encouraging feedback motivates them, creates a better end product and earns them respect. Negative motivation sours your relationship.

Example 1: If you miss sending me your order by noon Thursday you’ll have to wait another week. Verses… Send me your order by noon Thursday and I’ll have it for you on Monday.

Sometimes things are not as good as they need to be (like the first draft of a presentation for the senior team). In cases like these constructive feedback is necessary. It’s how’ you provide feedback that makes all the difference.

Example 2:Your approach is wrong – do it this way. Verses… Your content is great, but consider how you can ensure your ROI message can’t be missed.

Giving feedback is about choice – specifically, how we choose’ to engage. The best approach is to give positive feedback in a way that helps people learn, motivates the recipient and establishes you as an enabler – not a negative or uncaring dictator.

Let’s discuss general daily communication

It’s so easy to say how bad things are and I have to catch myself just like the next guy. That said, I’m happy to say it’s less often than it used to be… and much less often than some people I know.

The reality is you can always improve a conversation by noticing what’s good about even a bad situation. Talking about what’s good helps create harmony. talking about what’s bad creates frustration and easily leads to anger, stressful relationships and can even cause depression.

Example 3: That street light is burnt out. I bet it will take the city weeks to fix it. Verses… That street light is burnt out. Wow – that one light makes it so much easier to see the stars.

I think the biggest problem is that many of us aren’t aware we’re speaking negatively. I have noticed that when I consciously have a positive outlook I feel so much better and so do the people around me. My personal brand is improved.

Example 4: It’s a great restaurant but always full. Verses… It’s a great restaurant and always full, so I recommend going early.

In this example, turning the negative into a helpful recommendation is a way to build great relationship value and personal brand value.

Inserting kindness and awareness of the other persons feelings has a big positive impact.

Kind, helpful words have a great advantage over negative words.

It’s so easy to find the bad of a situation. It’s everywhere around us. Listen to the news – read a newspaper. Within seconds you will be bombarded with negativity.

Even the individual words you choose can evoke anger, frustration, and stress. For example, in my last paragraph I use the word ‘bombarded’… verses perhaps ‘hear’. Bombarded evokes a completely different – much more negative feeling.

Use a positive supportive approach and thoughtful words to bring out the best in people.


So we can see the importance of our overall approach and the impact certain words have on the people we’re communicating with. We can be more careful with the words we choose and be aware of their impact on the tone of our messages. This is as true for written (especially email), and spoken communication.

Look for good in things. Be an enabler. If you see good work let that person know. Celebrate everything you do. Positive thinking and positive speaking is worth the effort for everyone.

Happy communication and email writing. 

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness. Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen. Click on the image to the right to watch us on Canada AM. I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

5 Responses to Glass Half Full or Glass Half Empty?

  1. Wow Bruce, I was thinking about this topic (and discussing it with a coaching cilent) just yesterday.
    My dilemma: how to word it in the positive.
    Now, you’ve done just that!

    Thanks for the insight, clarity and straight-forward examples!

    Bryce Winter
    Brand Architect & Brand CEO

I’ll enjoy reading your thoughts and your experiences.

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