Thanks to GayleThe phrase Words Have Power  on a Blackboard Valeriote for posting this thought provoking article, “Words Matter, Even the Ones Nobody Sees”*, and to Susan Detwiler for starting a wonderful discussion in the NPCons Facebook group around the CEO vs. Executive Director titles. 

From the day you began your current role, you have depended on the power of words.  Would you be a “consultant”, “coach”, “facilitator”, or something more exotic?  How well does this perception fit with how you want to be seen? Should you use your own name for your business or choose something that paints a picture of your work?  Do you have clients or partners? Do you market to or engage with those clients/partners?  As the article Gayle shared points out, it isn’t just about the fancy, formal words we announce to the world, but the internal references that shape our thinking.  When we label and categorize the people we work with, how does that affect the way we treat them?

The organizations we work with come to us with their own language.  The titles they use tell us something about the way they perceive themselves and their place in the organization and community.  The language they use to talk about their work gives us a feel for their culture and world view.  We listen for alignment between the stories told behind closed doors and the face they present to the public.  At each step of our work, the power of words matters.

Do we, and our clients, recognize the opportunity that power creates? Words can move people to action, signal cultural change or shape self-perception or be used to reinforce existing systems and lines of authority.  The words we choose shape every action we take, whether building a business culture or helping clients communicate more effectively with those stakeholders they most want to reach.

This month in our NPCons tweetchat, we will be answering some of the following questions:

  • What do I call myself and how do people perceive me and my work based on that title?
  • If I could choose a title that truly reflects the way I want to be seen, what would it be?
  • What language do I use in my business that helps me show my best self to my clients?
  • How does the language I use with my clients/partners affect the ways we work together?
  • How do I help my partners examine the power of the language they use and intentionally choose words that reflect who they are and want to be?

Please join us for another engaging, fast-paced tweetchat on Tuesday, February 17th at 1 PM PT, US.  We look forward to seeing you there!



There’s a new year of hope and optimism starting to unfold. What better time than January to consider what we are curious about, how we can encourage that curiosity, and how that could lead to more innovation to serve ourselves, our clients and our communities better. Wikipedia defines Innovation as “a new idea, device or […]

Do you ever find yourself wondering what one thing could I change that would change everything else? I do. Perhaps that’s why I feel so at home with my Creating the Future family. You see, at Creating the Future we believe to change the world, we must first change the questions. Changing the questions changes […]


It’s that time of year again – the season when the pull of work, family and community becomes decidedly…overwhelming. Most of us understand instinctively that we must take time for leisure. In fact, more research is emerging that downtime, procrastination, and good, old-fashioned rest actually enhance creativity and productivity. And the dangers of stress are […]


It might start as a nagging feeling that you just aren’t feeling as enthusiastic about your consulting projects as you used to. Maybe you’ve noticed a mismatch between the projects you want to do, and the ones you’re hired to do. Or perhaps you’re running on auto-pilot—too much so, in fact—and miss being challenged. Stuck […]


Every year as we returned to grade school, I remember being asked, “What did you do on your summer vacation?” As we talked about trips, swimming, playing or just spending time with friends and family, we began to re-establish connections to each other and prepare for school work. Over the last few months, our NPCons […]


We’ve all heard inspiring stories about the self-made person — those mythical heroes who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and find success on their own terms, without help from anyone else. Nonsense! Each and every one of us has benefitted from the help and support of dozens of people to achieve our goals. As […]

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” -Madeleine L’Engle, author, A Wrinkle in Time If you’ve worked for any period of time with community benefit organizations, you know the power of stories. Neuroscience has shown we are hard-wired to respond to stories—narratives of human experience connect us across generation, culture, and […]


One of the most troubling situations nonprofit consultants deal with is a client relationship that just isn’t working.  Sometimes there are hints early on that trouble could be lurking.  Perhaps your “spidey” sense is telling you that all is not as it seems.  There may be small misunderstandings or conflicting information between staff and board.  […]


As consultants we spend a lot time thinking, talking, or developing tools of our trade — those tools vary based on the specific focus of your consulting. Often the tools of the trade are technical skills, talents, or abilities. All of these are important — to acquire, develop, and polish. Yet however skilled we may […]

  • Next Chat

    Topic: The Power of Words

    Tuesday, February 17th 1pm - 2pm PT (NA)

    This month's facilitator: Nancy Iannone

    See you there!

    Don't forget: Subscribe to be notified of upcoming chats!

  • Continue the Discussion

  • Recent Posts

  • Live #NPCons Stream