We can learn many great lessons from any number of great thinkers, prophets, and philosophers. One of the greatest of these thinkers and philosophers comes from a galaxy far, far away: Yoda. Yes, Yoda. Now stay with me for this one. One of the best lines that Yoda says in the entire Star Wars franchise is “Do, or do not. There is no try.” How many of you read that in your best Yoda voice? The problem with saying that you’ll “try” something is that it makes you appear weak and unconfident in yourself (you can debate which is worse). One of the key characteristics of successful sales people and business professionals is the confidence that they have in themselves.

Not sure what to say instead of saying “try?” If someone asks you “Can you fix this problem?” Our normal response might be, “Yeah, I can try.” A better option, “I’ll look into the problem and do some research and see what’s wrong and I will get right back in touch with you.” By saying that, you’ve taken full control of the situation, there’s no doubt about what is going on. Instead of saying “I’m trying it right now” or something along those lines, say “I’m working on it right now.” Instead of asking a customer “Would you like to try our pizza?” instead say “Our pizza here is really good, how about I bring you a slice.” You’ve taken full control of the situation and conversation in each case.

Saying that you’ll ‘try’ something leaves the ‘try’ open to interpretation. Is he doing it? Is he not? Does he know what he’s doing? Does he understand what I meant when I asked him the question? When you change your vocabulary and get rid of the word ‘try,’ you’ll see an increase in your confidence and communication abilities.

You may be wondering, “Why is Chris, a web designer, blogging and talking to me about not using the word ‘try’?” Several months ago, a good friend of mine, Dean Raasch, who after going through several leadership development programs, shared some of the ideas that he learned in the programs, one of them being not using the word ‘try’. So whenever I would be in ear shot of Dean and he would hear me say “try,” he would instantly say “You’re going to try to do it or are you actually going to do it?” At first I just laughed it off and ignored him, but then the more I thought about it, I realized that using the word “try” really did show a sign of weakness. Now when we’re out at different meetings and events and we hear someone say “try,” we almost have a competition to see who will spot it first.

Next time you’re having a conversation and you find yourself about to say ‘try,’ think of any other way that you could phrase your answer so that you take control of the situation and show the confidence that you have in yourself. Removing ‘try’ from your vocabulary is one of the best ways to increase your efficiency in communication. So either do it, or do not. There is no try.

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