Alex Mandossian Verb

What is Your Verb?

I just spent the five days at my semi-annual TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) event in Mexico.  I come away from each of these conferences with nuggets of great information.

At this conference, one of the presentations that gave me a lot of great nuggets was from my friend, Alex Mandossian.  His talk was called “Discover Your Verb.”  OK, I thought it sounded a bit weird but his content is always so great, so I didn’t care – I had to be there.  I’m glad I was.  It was in fact, amazing.

In his talk he said, the “biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years is the one thing that makes a great business person and leader is: movement!”

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing happens until something moves.” This is true in business and in leadership because without movement, change is not possible.

Alex told the story of a legendary ad man, Leo Burnett from Chicago.  He said that “Burnett once put his staff to the task of analyzing 62 ads that failed to move merchandise. Why did they fail?  Burnett said it was due to too many adjectives because adjectives (like “extremely”) don’t move people, instead they spark skepticism and doubt in our minds.  In fact, of the 12,758 words of those failed ads, 24.1% were adjectives! Translation: more adjectives means less movement.”

Alex said that in comparison, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address contains only 13.1% adjective-to-total-word ratio and Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech has 12.3%.

If adjectives are the problem, then what is the solution?  Alex said that it’s not nouns – it’s about verbs or action words.

Verbs increase persuasion power and move people according to Alex.  The greatest thought leaders in history lived their lives as verbs.

For example, Alex said: “Rene Descartes is “Father of Western philosophy.” His verb was: THINK! (“Cogito ergo sum”) “I THINK, therefore I am!”

  • Einstein believed if you stop learning you start dying. His verb was: LEARN!  “I LEARN, therefore I am!”
  • Maria Montessori believed in teaching philosophy that bears her name today. Her verb was: TEACH!  I TEACH therefore I am.
  • Walt Disney believed in dreaming. His verb won him 22 Academy Awards!  “I DREAM, therefore I am!”

Alex said, “it’s a one-word language that moves people and causes permanent and positive change!”

So – what’s your verb?  Alex asked us to pick our verb and put it on a sticky note.  I chose “collaborate” but my wife, Beth, told me that she didn’t think that was my verb!  I said, “what do you mean, my business is all about collaboration.”  She said yes that is how I operate but that is not the big picture of what I do.  I asked her what she thought I did and she said – “you inspire.”  She said that Alex told us that our verb had to be something BIG.  It had to be the big movement that we have with the people we work with.  Beth said that my role is to inspire people to collaborate.   I’d like to think she was right so – my verb is “INSPIRE.”

What is your verb?  Think BIG.  It’s the big movement that you make in your community and your world.  What is your verb and why?  Share it here.  I want to know.

23 thoughts on “What is Your Verb?

  1. Great article. As a writer for over 30 years and the owner of a creative business called Creative Wonders Communications I think my verb is: Create. I think creating your own life is the biggest job each individual on this planet has! Create the life you want. Create the life you love. I believe we are at our most happiest when we are creating. Thanks for the inspiriation Dr. Ivan Misner. I love BNI. I have my own chapter and I am a Director/Consultant for four others! You truly are an inspiration.

  2. I GIVE, therefore I am.

    At the beginning of last year one of my Toastmasters Int’l club members passed around the book One Word That Will Change Your Life. The concept is similar – find one word to define your year. This fall the word that kept coming to mind for me was generosity. And while I have always been a giver, I realized in January while doing a BNI visitor’s day presentation that was the word that kept coming up when I explained BNI – generosity. BNI works because it encourages and requires action – GIVING of your time, attention, referrals, friendship – generosity of spirit says they is plenty for everyone so I can GIVE.

    I simplify the complex world that is faced by an Entrepreneur. That moves them to “TAKE ACTION” Results are a natural consequence. In my BNI chapter “Kites”, in Bangalore, I share my thoughts on how one can simplify the situation and come up with brilliant solutions in their personal and business lives
    Therefore, my verb is “SIMPLIFY”
    I have attended Alex’s workshop in Bangalore. Thank you Alex you are awesome.

  4. Love this post, and the theme of Alex’s talk, Ivan! People know me for many action verbs – connect, grow, inspire, give, collaborate, learn, teach, act, engage, love, help, solve, innovate… but the one that would stand out most in my word cloud would be SHARE! Thank you for sharing.

  5. A great thought…I am a member of BNI Beacon, Erode-India in the Tour Operator Category. Any suggestion for ‘What is Your verb?” that may suit profession?. Thanks in Adcanve

        1. Ashok: If I were taking a tour, I would want an operator who inspires, amazes, fulfills my dream, organizes, arranges and expedites my trip. Hope this gives you some good ideas. I’m a BNI member in Michigan.

  6. I actually find this quite a tricky area, Im still learning how to work my 60 sevconds in order to get referrals, but when it comes to me as a professional within my field as a film maker, I am OPEN-MINDED, could be a flaw though personally.

    I welcome BNI follower to my Twitter feed @LakelandMedia

  7. “GIVING” is my verb. Thanks to BNI and in the last 4+ years in BNI, “GIVING” has happened to me and my belief in it is getting stronger every day. I thank you Dr Ivan Misner for inspiring the world. Proud to be BNI Member.

  8. Mine has to be PROMOTE. As a website developer passionate about helping businesses reach out to new markets its the one word I tell my clients over and over again. Unless you promote your business nobody else will do it for you. I also believe in HELP, SUPPORT and GIVE, all positive action words.

  9. On first consideration words like educate, encourage, and support came to mind. A conversation unrelated to this article after life altering news for a close friend gave me Sherpa. (n) an expert sent by a country to a summit; (v) to serve as a guide or porter for another. This year my verb is sherpa.

  10. At first i thought my verb was “Inspire” but as I go deeper into it I think its “empower”. I was empowered to be whatever I wanted, and do whatever I could or felt I had to, at a very young age by my parents. I have done the same for my kids, my staff, people I have worked with and hosts of others, including those I have mentored, and it has always been a fabulous moment for me when they have become their potential. So my verb is “EMPOWER”

  11. We’ve finally perceived the need to delve even deeper, to our very core. With the help of spiritual intelligence, we realized that to live a full life, to be a leader and a strong personal brand, we need to rely on inner wisdom: to discover, acknowledge, come to love, and show the world our true selves.

  12. What an insightful article! It’s fascinating to learn how the use of verbs can have such a significant impact on our communication and ability to move people. It’s also inspiring to see how some of history’s greatest thought leaders and changemakers have embodied a powerful verb that reflects their life’s purpose and mission.

    I particularly appreciate the author’s personal reflection on discovering their own verb, and the importance of choosing a verb that represents the big picture of what they do. It’s a great reminder to all of us to think beyond the day-to-day tasks and identify the greater movement we want to create in our lives and in the world.

    Thank you for sharing this valuable lesson, and for encouraging us to reflect on our own verbs. I am inspired to think deeply about what verb truly captures the impact I hope to make in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *