Happy Talk: Energizing Results Through Positive Words

At times, leaders must be tough. Very tough. We must set high expectations, we must hold people accountable, we must ensure everyone is always striving for more. That works.

And there is also the need for “happy talk,” timed well.

One thing that I found as I have grown in the business, is how much people listen not just to what we say but to our entire mood. Of course, they text and instant message about it too just saying.

If you google, can humans control the weather… you will get a list of links and even all the patents involved. But, if you ask, Can Leaders Control the Weather the answer seems to be a quicker yes.

I have been paying a lot of attention to the weather being created by myself and others. Particularly the impact of what I call “happy talk,” and the results it can drive.

A few weekends ago, we had lots going on in our business which required many conference calls over the weekend to ensure everyone was in the loop and on track. Each time I dialed into the status call, Nancy (let’s call her Nancy, since that is her real name great when that works), engaged everyone with such tremendous excitement and enthusiasm. Through her “happy talk,” each person understood that their contribution to this effort was vital. Everyone worked very hard and her mood was contagious. The project came off extremely well.

That Saturday night, I walked into a restaurant and heard “I just wish this joint had someone who was eager to talk about leadership now that would be great.” I laughed, knowing that someone in this “joint” knew me and was eager to engage let’s call him “Dave” (since that’s his real name). Not a close friend, but someone who always pays attention, and wants others to feel good so they can grow. He is one of my leadership heroes.

The thing is “happy talk” is engaging. When leaders make people feel great they want to become greater. They want to follow the folks that made them feel happy.

In memory of Claire Graham, who performed the role of Bloody Mary many years ago in our Salem Player’s community production of South Pacific. I will never forget your rendition of “Happy Talk.

Posted in Communication and tagged , , , , , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of several books: Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates (Harper Collins Summer 2020), Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. Hi Karin!

    What a tremendous way to start the week! I find that whether I am in a one on one conversation, a team meeting or on a conference call I have the opportunity to deliver energy and happy talk! My dad always says, do what you love and do it well. Guidance to live by and model.


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