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Bad News Eradicator – Exercise #2

Bad News Eradicator

The Bad News Eradicator, a continuing Executive Action feature will show you how to avoid non-communication, debates, arguments, anger and contention in your speaking and writing. One of the most powerful strategies I teach is the eradication of negative language, phrases and statements.

  • Negative language is the most toxic communication we can create.
  • Negative language accounts for all divisiveness, distortion, dissention, contention, anger, wars, divorces… you get the idea.
  • Negative language is non-communication.
  • Negative language is destructive.
  • Negative language causes defensiveness (yours).
  • Negative language drives communication out of control.
  • Negative language causes intellectual deafness (Once you say no, the conversation is over).
  • Negative language fails to bring closure.
  • Negative language simply fails to achieve victory.
  • Negative language weighs more (is more memorable) than positive language.

If you want to have a truly better life, you need to learn how to eradicate negative language from everything that you do. Each month this section will provide up to two dozen translations of negative phrases, statements and ideas into positive statements ideas and concepts. The fact is, being positive the way we’re talking here, will change your life dramatically and permanently. It’s a personal discipline. Good luck. And welcome to a better life.

For a more complete discussion of the power of positive language, see, “The Ingredients of Leadership.”

Examples of Negatives Translated to Positives

   1.       “The company does not plan to…” “The company plans to…”
   2.       “The company has the right, but not the obligation…” “The company has the right, but any obligations are optional at the company’s discretion.”
   3.       “The company shall not terminate…” “The company shall continue to…”
   4.       “The company shall not take any of the following actions…” “The company is prohibited from taking…”
   5.       “The option may not be exercised…” “Exercising that option is prohibited.”
   6.       “The company would not be able to…” “The company would choose other options.”
   7.       “May not make changes…” “Changes are limited to…”
   8.       “Most likely will not achieve” “Most likely to fail”
   9.       “My answer is not no.” “My answer is…”
10.       “No comment.” “What I can say is limited…”


Try your hand at creating your own positive equivalents to these negative statements. Share them with me and I’ll respond.

   1.       “Generally does not vary…”
   2.       “Don’t worry, he won’t care…”
   3.       “Doesn’t hurt to ask.”
   4.       “Don’t hesitate to call.”
   5.       “I couldn’t help it.”
   6.       “I don’t believe you.”
   7.       “I wouldn’t say it that negatively.”
   8.       “It doesn’t matter that it won’t happen.”
   9.       “It’s disappointing and misleading.”
 10.       “If you do not refrain from…”

Please send these to me and, with your permission, I will publish them and add them to our growing list of negative language translations.


Begin Monitoring and Translating Your Own Negatives Today. It’s one of the key disciplines of leadership.

Start Collecting Your Negatives Daily Do Your Translations Immediately

Please send these to me and, with your permission, I will publish them and add them to our growing list of negative language translations.


By James E. Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow PRSA, served on the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) for 22 years. In 2016, he was the first BEPS member to be given Member Emeritus status by the PRSA Board of Directors. Among other activities, he was co-chair of the PRSA BEPS Code of Ethics redrafting effort led by Bob Frause, APR, Fellow PRSA. The PRSA Assembly unanimously approved the revised code in the fall of 2000.

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