Words can make us or break us! "I love you" said for the first time with a new partner fills us with joy, while "it's not you, it's me" sends a clear signal we are about to break up with someone.
In the office environment too we use words and phrases also for effect. "That sounds interesting BUT....", "Let's form a project committee for that issue" and "What a fantastic idea". The question is though, how often are you thinking about your word choices?
At the moment, I am reading the book titled 'Words can change your brain' by Mark Robert Waldman and Andrew Greenberg and they discuss that negative and positive words can literally wire your brain chemistry and change neural activity.
Think of the 'killer phrases' used in the office or over used words like 'awesome' and 'game changer'. These words can bring down the energy of a good conversation, leaving people feeling underwhelmed when overused. We ought to avoid these cliché phrases and words as they do more harm. Why do we use them? I suspect often we feel like the need to say something. They become as useless as filler words like 'um', 'ah', 'oder' and 'aber'. We try to inspire, sound witty or intelligent, but miss the point that we can only inspire change in ourselves. People need to arrive at our ideas in there own time. Your word choices can repel or even offend. Another point made in the book is that we all carry different meanings to the same words and in many ways, no two people are alike in their usage of language and understanding of word meaning. Hence the problem with overused phrases.
This brings about immense challenges when we think about how we communicate. It is up to us make sure we are clear and understood, as we intended. I am sure you have been in a situation where you said something and it was taken in a completely different direction by the person you spoke to. Waldman and Greenberg offer many solutions to communication in the book. Several I am working with and thinking about at the moment include:
David Corcoran is a Executive Voice Coach. He helps people take responsibility for their communication. This Blog contains his regular musings, thoughts and ideas. He is based in Vienna, Austria.