✍️ Words have Power
that sometimes we do not consider
(4 minutes reading)
🇮🇹 👉 Italian version [LINK HERE]
Over the last few days I have been thinking about the importance of the words we use every day, their positive and negative effects, and this quote came to my mind:
“The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu
📖 I have read several books about communication and the importance of using words and how they can also generate significant and permanent changes in us.
In the late 1960s, Prof. Albert Mehrabian discovered that when we communicate, there are several aspects that come into play and words are not always identified as the most important ones:
- non-verbal communication (particularly body and facial expression) has an influence of 55%;
- paraverbal communication (tone, volume, rhythm of the voice, etc.) accounts for 38%;
- words, the verbal content, count for only 7%.
But this is especially true when we communicate feelings and attitudes, especially if we do so in person.
👉 Nowadays, most of our communication takes place in writing through messages, emails, group chats, where the non-verbal and paraverbal are not present. This is where words take on greater importance. But not only that, I have learned that even when we talk to ourselves, words are very important.
📌 Words generate images in our minds and when they reach us in writing, without the rest of the communication, perhaps even without a clear context, they generate images in us that influence us.
In the last few months I have tried to pay more attention to some key words that I used while writing and speaking and I have noticed great changes due to the feelings that these words create in me.
I have listed three examples that I think have had the most impact, but the list could be longer.
I started to change all the words and phrases from negative to positive, always expressing the same concept:
- “thank you for waiting for me” or “thank you for your patience” instead of “sorry I'm late”;
- “we have an exciting new challenge to face” or “there is an opportunity to learn something new” instead of “there is a new problem”;
- “it's a challenging time” instead of “it's a difficult time”: it may sound thin, but something challenging is still achievable, something difficult sounds more like an insurmountable block.
Want instead of Need
Another big change I have made when writing or setting my goals is to want it and not feel it as a duty, I can assure you that it changes a lot:
- “If we want to improve our working method it is important for us to do this training” instead of “we have to do this training”;
- “I would like to reach this goal and therefore...” instead of “I have to do this thing...”;
- “I want to go on a diet” instead of “I have to go on a diet”;
It's a small change, but it pays off in the long run, because we choose to want to do this thing and we don't feel it's imposed on us.
This is a magic word, my leader recently introduced me to it and it helps to motivate me & other to do things.
Explaining why helps to contextualise, to give an explanation and therefore to make what is being said more acceptable.
- “I want to go on a diet because I want to feel better with myself”.
- “If we want to improve it is important to do this because it will help us to...”
- “I am writing to you because”
- “I think this is important for you because”.
📜 👉 Have you ever reflected on the importance of words and how we use them? What do you think about that?
Let me know in the comments!
As always, I'm happy to help you learn more. If you'd like to have a sparring partner or have a chat about this or other topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be in touch.
And today it is even more important to thank you for the time you are dedicating to this reading.
📖 A book I recommend on the topic is:
- Choose the Right Word: [LINK HERE].
🔗 An insightful link that I recommend:
- 7 38 55 rule of Communication [LINK HERE].
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