It occurred to me how powerful words are and how much power, you and I have, to shift behavior by “choosing our words.”
I know you clicked on this article thinking it was about something freaky. Get your head out of the gutter and go say your prayers... I’m talking about effective communications... geez! Now that I’ve got your attention, I’ll get to it. It occurred to me how powerful words are and how much power, you and I have, to shift behavior by “choosing our words.”
We learn in grade school to choose our words and be kind, but between the playground and the office, we begin to use words to control, instill fear, wound and silence others. I decided to consciously listen in conversation to see how people use language and how their words can alter the meaning and outcome of conversation. In a business meeting, one of the people, uses words like “stop” or “hold on,” spoken abruptly, versus saying, “let me make sure I understand” or “ this is what I heard.” Then, I heard a parent talk to a child and say, “why did you do that?!!” as opposed to saying, “Is there reason you did that?” In another conversation, one friend told another about the back to back meetings and calls she’d had all day, the response was, “Oh my God, that sounds stressful! You must be exhausted,” but it could have been, “Wow, that was a full and productive day. Awesome!” All that changed was the words, but the meaning can empower or deflate the receiver.
The power of the tongue lies not only in what we say, but “how” we say it. We have the ability to change the course of someone’s day, life and our own inner conversation by how we use language. We win and lose by the words we say. How many times have you heard that communication can make or break relationships? The majority of conflict comes from what we say and how others perceive them. Words shift our vibration, which then stimulates beliefs, and action. Think of your words as a l
ight dimmer switch - having the power to turn something off or on... or make it expand and grow. Interesting, yes???! Speak consciously!
You’re a powerful creator - use your superpowers! What you say and how you say it impacts outcomes. Before you speak, think of what you want to happen, then use your words to get you there. Powerful orators get this. Used properly, similar to Barak Obama, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey or the Dalai Lama, words can shift micro, and global discourse, consciousness, and alter the course of billions of lives. Think of the words you use with family and friends, and with your child. Within that child’s mind lies the legacy of future generations, genius ideas and radical things. Use your words to build them up.
Win friends and influence people. This is the title of a bestselling book by Dale Carnegie, that has changed the lives of more than 10 million readers. In it, he talks about how to change people’s behavior through words and actions. Ever wonder why people are drawn to others like magnets? People can’t get enough because they make others feel like a million bucks in their presence. People like being around others who make them feel good. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what yo
u said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Whether it’s innate or learned, you can get a piece of that too. My father gave me Dale Carnegie’s book when I was in my pre-teens, made me read it repeatedly, and it’s changed the course of my life.
It’s Your Most Powerful Commodity. Invest In it. John D. Rockefeller said, “the ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee...I would pay more for that ability than any other under the sun.” In the United States alone, billions of dollars are spent annually on marketing communications and communications technology, yet communication is something that the average person doesn’t think about. Investing in effective communication can widen social influence, make you m
ore attractive; and builds emotional intelligence, as you learn to understand yourself and others, learn to employ strategies to negotiate relationships and achieve your desired outcomes.
Although people may have a lot to say about Keanu Reaves’ acting in “The Matrix”, one of the reasons I love the movie is this that it reinforced for me the idea of our world being an “alterable” reality - basically, it can be changed by our thoughts and by extension, our words. As a mother, it’s important to me to teach my 13-year old how to effectively use words to create a rich and meaningful life. Teaching children effective communications creates adults who understand themselves, seek to understand and use words to build up others. Think of the bigger picture.
And, if you want to use your tongue to spice up your life in other ways, that’s a whole other blog post!!! (Wink!)