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The Power of Words

In a recent blog post of mine, I pointed out that one of my goals in life is to be a world-class listener. Words are an obvious necessity when it comes to being a great listener. The power of words is endless – words are a cornerstone of how we communicate.  Great words can build up a church or destroy a nation. How is it that words have so much power?

Here are a list of questions that help to fully describe words and their influence:

Why are words powerful, what can they do?
Words have the power to inspire and encourage, to build people up and tear them down. Their possibilities are endless. I realized that words have the power to be one of the most valuable tools in business. They are responsible for making deals, encouraging employees, and establishing lasting relationships with clients and customers. It’s easy to forget that we have been communicating with each other in some form since the beginning of time. As innovation began to take place, words have been expressed through not only means of pen and paper, but electronically via e-mails, social media, and everything on the web. Of course, we can’t forget about simply talking to one another face to face.  Remember, you are a writer.

How they can be portrayed?

Whether on paper or online, your words matter!

Words can be written, spoken, seen, heard, and felt. With the emergence of social media, we are able to communicate on all a whole new platform. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people refer to social media as “the newest frontier.” If it’s the “newest frontier,” then the words it consists of are responsible for leading the way. Think about a tweet. You have 140 characters to get your point across. What better example of the power of words is there?

I was recently teaching a class at the local college and the professor wanted me to help the students understand how important the written word was. My message to them: “like it or not, you are a writer!” The words you choose can land you a job, get your e-mail or post noticed by your boss (possibly leading to a promotion), or they can help you blend in and define you as average or even worse, get you fired or voted out of office! Take now-former Congressman Anthony Weiner. In an attempt to not get caught about his personal life, he chose to use his words to lie and then had to backpedal when he was caught. The result? An endless news cycle and the loss of his position in Congress.

How would you answer these questions? Think about the last time your words have led to a dramatic change, whether it was in the workplace or through a marketing campaign, or even with your customers. Did it lead to a good change, or did it negatively impact the relationship?

What am I missing here? What are you thinking?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the thinking of the company I work for, or anyone else with whom I am affiliated. Except my wife of course, who is good at telling me what not to say.

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